The Doncaster control was built in the early 1960’s and is located in the basement of the Coroner’s Court in Union Street, Doncaster. Although officially still the Council’s war HQ in the 1980’s, it’s unlikely to have been used after 1968. The building is still in good internal condition and is now used, in part, for the storage of Coroner’s files; most of the rooms are lit. The back door of the building fronts on to Cleveland Street and it’s possible to see the first gas tight door from the street. This is at the top of the stairs leading down into the basement.
At the bottom of the stairs there is a small lobby with two more gas tight doors, one into the ‘Administration Room’ and one into the ‘Signals Room’. There is no added blast protection at any of the doors. The administration room is a long narrow room with wooden shelves along one wall stacked with coroner’s files. At one end of the room a door leads into the ‘Liaison and Information Room’, the largest room in the bunker. Apart from a blackboard it has been completely stripped and is now stacked with redundant computers. At the far side of the room is a short corridor; on the left hand side is a cupboard containing two metal framed stretchers and next to that the male toilet. The male toilet has four empty cubicles, a long shelf with a recessed plastic wash basin and a mirror with the glass removed. The female toilet on the opposite side of the corridor has four cubicles, a shorter shelf and plastic basin and another glassless mirror. Seven brand new and unused Elsan chemical toilets are stacked in the cubicles.
At the end of the corridor the ‘Plant Room’ is to the right and the ‘Kitchen/Rest Room’ to the left. The kitchen has a hand pumped waste water tank, a floor standing wooden unit consisting of drawers and cupboards and a large recessed wooden cupboard with a water tank inside. In the middle of the ceiling is an ROC style emergency escape hatch with no obvious way of reaching it. The plant room has a Braby generator, switchgear and ventilation and filtration plant by Keith Blackman Engineering of London, the unit being called ‘The Tornado.’
The ‘Signals Room’ has six acoustic booths along one wall and three along another. Each booth has an individual light and switch and three of the booths have swivel chairs. Three modern computer printers are sitting in one of the booths with two 1960’s teleprinters on the floor. To the left is the small ‘Switchboard Room’ with a portable 10 line magneto switchboard still connected to the incoming GPO lines. There is a lead acid battery on the floor.
On the right hand side of the signals room is a door with a small message passing window into the ‘Operations Room’. This room has been largely stripped but is used to store some coroner’s files in boxes on the floor. From the operations room, a door leads back into the administration room and on the other side there are two doors, one into the ‘scientists and reconnaissance room’ and the other into the ‘Conference and Controllers Room’. These two rooms are also directly linked together. The scientists room has two metal floor standing cupboards and some items of coroner’s furniture including two high wooden desks with sloping tops. The controllers room has a second ROC style escape hatch in the ceiling and wooden shelves along one wall stacked with coroner’s files. Both escape hatches lead directly into the coroner’s office above with no emergency access to the outside of the building. All the rooms have ventilation trunking along one wall and and most have a name on the door indicating who was located there.
The building was demolished in April 2017.
Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford, Keith Ward, Bob Jenner, Caroline Ford.