Site Records

Site Name: Kenton Bar - 13 Group Fighter Command Headquarters and Region 1 Regional War Room

Kenton Lane
Kenton Bar
OS Grid Ref: NZ216674

Sub Brit site visit 1st December 2004

[Source: Nick Catford]

Site Visit by Tyne & Wear Museums' researchers on 15th April and 1st of May 2003 and by members of Subterranea Britannica with Tyne & Wear Museums researchers on 1st December 2004.

The main access into the underground operations room at Kenton is concealed in a brick and concrete paneled single-storey structure surrounded by a low brick wall on the west side of the bunker. Internally, this building which housed a small guard post has been stripped of most of the fittings related to its military and civil defence use and has been used as a store. Many of the electrical fittings appear to be original and with the exception of the modern temporary lighting, all of the electrical fittings in the bunker are of similar type.

Photo:Looking up the main access stairs to the guardhouse from the bunker
Photo by Nick Catford

Further surface features associated with the bunker include ventilation shafts and radio mast bases. The ventilators are in varying stages of decay, and some have lost their characteristic louvered openings.

The stairs to the bunker are accessed through a large door with gastight seal. At the top of the stairs is a large fuse and switch-box for the ventilation system. At the base of the staircase is a corridor, with an airlock. Some of the rooms within the bunker are labelled with their post war functions. A corridor runs around three and a half sides of the upper level ending part way along the north side where there is a stairway down to the lower floor. On the south side of the bunker there is a second stairway down at the same point but also a short stairway up to a continuation of the upper level corridor.

Most of the rooms throughout the bunker have been cleared of all fixtures and fittings and as the room layout does not exactly match that of the standard design war room it is not possible to determine what many of the rooms were used for during this period. The main plant room is at the west end of the upper level, this is still largely intact with the ventilation and air filtration plant required to keep the air in the bunker circulating.

Photo:The Porton filters in the plant room
Photo by Nick Catford

The large Porton Filters are still present and in good external condition, as are the electric pumps and their associated switchgear. The plant appears to date from WW2 being refurbished for the 1950's war room.

Close to the stairs on the north side two large sections of an operations table with the original edging, covering the area from Holy Island to Seaham, and Whitby to Filey. This is part of the table used in the 1950s Regional War Rooms and does not date from WW2. Other sections of the map table can be found in adjacent rooms.

One of these rooms which overlooks the operations well on the floor below has acoustic telephone booths along one wall, the other room has a large fire brigade mobilisation boards on one wall relating to pump availability, pump movements and other equipment. Both of these rooms have no walls on one side overlooking the operations well. As there is no separate tote gallery it is assumed that the totes were in this position and they would have been updated from within these two rooms.

Photo:Fire Brigade mobilsation boards
Photo by Nick Catford

Close to the stairs on the southern side there are two blackboards leaning against the wall. One of these had a sketch map showing the location of assembly points and command centres in East Durham.

The male and female dormitories are at the east end of the upper level one room still being labelled `Ladies Sleeping Quarters'. Close by are the male and female toilets. The female toilet has two WC cubicles and the male toilet has one cubicle and an `Adamsez' enamel urinal.

For further information and pictures of Kenton Bar click here

Click here for Blakelaw Filter Room

[Source: Nick Catford]

home.gif Home Page
Last updated 15th September 2005

© 2005 Subterranea Britannica