Site Records

Site Name: Brighouse - West Yorkshire Sub County Control

Junction of Elland Road and Bradford Road

RSG site visit 28th September 2001

[Source: Nick Catford]

The West Yorkshire Sub County Control is at the junction of Elland Road and Bradford Road, Brighouse. It was built in 1962 as a 20 room underground bunker with a small surface entry blockhouse housing water and fuel tanks and the standby generator (now removed). In 1980 West Yorkshire Council (Now Calderdale District Council) built a two storey prefabricated office block on top of the bunker for the county waste authority. The bunker was abandoned after 1992 and the offices above are now also derelict and due for demolition. Subject to planning approval, the site is due to become a Tesco superstore and it is unlikely the bunker will survive.

Photo: The bunker entrance (small red brick building)
Photo by Nick Catford

Drawn by Nick Catford

As a result of a broken pipe there is now standing water permanently in the bunker, only an inch at the time of our visit but in times of heavy rain it can be up to 6 inches. Although in use as West Yorkshire's emergency centre until after the cold war the large bunker was never modernised and upgraded and with ordinary wooden doors it offered very limited blast protection. At the bottom of the stairs there is a short corridor with the operations area to the left and the domestic area to the right. It is difficult to put a use to most of the rooms as they have all been largely stripped and there is no available plans or indication on the doors as to their use. There are two large rooms in the middle of the bunker, one still has a rotating blackboard and tables and chairs, there is a door into a smaller room with a substantial metal ladder on the wall and an emergency escape hatch in the ceiling. Although originally in the grounds this hatch now opens into the ladies toilets in the office above. The other large room was obviously the control room, it has a large resources board indicating resources available and allocated, two manual typewriters and further tables and chairs.

Photo: Control Room
Photo by Nick Catford

One one side of the control rooms are a number of small rooms which eventually lead through into the signals room which has acoustic panelling round the walls although the partitioned booths have been removed. There is a bank of BT phone sockets just inside the door. At the other end of the control room there is a smaller room with filing cabinets, Dexion shelving, a large map board (no map) and another resources board indicating available and allocated resources at the 'Ops Base', 'Depot' and 'R.V.' (Rendezvous). Beyond this room there is a plant room containing switchgear and ventilation trunking, any filtration unit and fans must have been sited elsewhere. On the right hand side of the entrance stairs is a store room with Dexion racks and some stores still in place including a box of new telephones and some stationary. Opposite the store room are the two toilets, the male toilet having two porcelain wash basins, one Elsan chemical toilet and two cubicles. There is a step up into each cubical with each porcelain toilet pan mounted on one side of a large chemical tank, there is a foot pedal for flushing. There is also a hand pumped waste water tank alongside the wash basins. The female toilet has one cubicle and one wash basin. At the western end of the bunker there are three rooms, one appears to have been a radio room with part of a metal frame still fixed to the wall and ceiling, alongside this is a room with a long map table and a wooden cabinet and this in turn leads into the small kitchen/canteen which has a large dining table with chairs around it. There is also a small electric cooker, a long preparation table, stainless steel sink and draining board and several cupboards. The canteen area seems far too small for such a large bunker. At the back of the kitchen is a small store room or pantry with wooden shelves along two walls still stacked with crockery. A number of rooms seem to have been used for storage only as they are fitted out with Dexion racking. There is no longer any power in the bunker.

Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford,Keith Ward, Bob Jenner, Caroline Ford


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