Site Records


SiteName: Paddock (Alternative Cabinet War Room)

Brook Road
Dollis Hill
London, N.W.2.
OS Grid Ref: TQ223863

Sub Brit site visit: 19th April 2001 and various later dates

[Source: Nick Catford]

At the end of the 120' long spine corridor is the cable chamber where all the telephone cables would have entered the building. The severed cables can still be seen high on the end wall with cable hangers fixed to the wall with a slot cut in the wall of the adjoining frame room. On the opposite side of the spine corridor is the large GPO Frame Room.


CWR on one of the dust covers

The main distribution frame (telephone exchange) still stands at one end with numerous racks of relays still in place. Each batch of relays has a metal dust cover, some of which are labeled.

One says CWR (Cabinet War Room) and another refers to 100 pairs of cables going to the MDF in the sub-basement and there is indeed a second, much smaller MDF in the sub-basement mounted above a doorway leading into the map room.

This room has obviously been put to later other uses with a lowered ceiling and a large rectangular slot in the end wall to an adjacent room. It is likely that there was once a window here and the two rooms were used as a recording studio and control room at some later date.

Adjacent to the frame roof there is a long room floored with red Darlington tiles.

This was the battery room; it housed two racks of lead acid batteries that would have powered the telephone exchange. There would also have been battery chargers and at one end the pipe work for a sink can still be seen. The sink would have been required if one of the batteries had tipped over with acid leaking onto the floor.

Photo:Aerial photograph of the Dollis Hill Research Station in 1996 - click picture to indicate which building is PADDOCK
Photo supplied by Stadium Housing Association

A new doorway has been knocked through from the battery room into the adjacent room. This room was the switch board room, a fact confirmed by one of the few visitors to the bunker who worked there during WW2.

At the far end of the upper spine corridor there is a second narrow spiral staircase down to the sub-basement, again the blast door frame is in place but the door itself has been removed. There are also two plant rooms, one on either side of the main spine corridor. The main plant room is on the east side. This still retains all its plant including fans, compressors, pumps and a floor standing electrical control cabinet with glass doors for the air conditioning plant. From this room metal trunking runs out into the spine corridor where it is suspended from the ceiling, feeding into all the rooms in the upper basement. On the opposite side of the corridor the smaller plant room contains a number of fans and filters enclosed within metal trunking.

Photo:Top of a spiral staircase down to the sub-basement. Note the frame for the blast door.
Photo by Nick Catford

After the war, when the pumps were turned off there was always a little standing water on the floor in the sub-basement. In 1982 there was two inches of water on the floor.

The sub-basement is much smaller and only has rooms on the west side of the spine corridor. At the southern end is a third plant room with a large diesel standby generator and its control cabinet, fans, filters and a large battery charger.

Towards the centre of the lower spine corridor several rooms lead into the military hub of he war headquarters, the map room. This room was particularly well lit with a large number of fluorescent light fittings, many of them with angled shades directing the light onto the walls where the maps depicting the war in Europe and elsewhere would have been displayed.


Illuminated directional indicator in one of the rooms in 1982 - now gone

Three of the adjoining rooms have large glass windows overlooking the map room, perhaps one for each of the three services. There is also a message hatch into an adjoining room.

Sub Basement
Surveyed by Nick Catford drawn by Harry Pearman

Close to the north end of the sub-basement spine corridor a short side corridor leads to the teleprinter room, this has wooden tables around three sides, power sockets at table height and a small message window into the adjacent cabinet room. The cabinet room is also well lit with angled shades on fluorescent light fittings indicating that this room too had maps on the walls.

The only other identifiable room at the north end of the sub-basement is believed to have been a small studio from where Churchill could broadcast to the nation. There are still some acoustic tiles fixed to the walls.

Sources:

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UPPER BASEMENT Gallery 1
UPPER BASEMENT Gallery 2
SUB-BASEMENT Gallery 1
SUB-BASEMENT Gallery 2
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[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated: 29 01 2012
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