During WW2 the semi-sunken basement of Reigate Town Hall was strengthened with steel beams and converted into a reporting and control centre. In 1952 it was reactivated as the Reigate Borough Control. Following the 1965 reorganisation of control centres it was redesignated as one of three county sub controls (the others were at Woking & Guildford). In 1968 it was put into care and maintenance following the disbanding of the Civil Defence Corps. It was once again reactivated about 1986 as Reigate Borough Emergency Centre and Surrey County Standby.
There were two access points, down a flight of stairs from the town hall. When visited in 1996 there was no blast or gas protection at this point. There was also a heavy steel and concrete blast door from a covered walkway between two town hall buildings. This door was removed in the late 1990’s and donated to the Wealden Cave and Mine Society; it is currently stored in a former sand mine/WW2 air raid shelter in Tunnel Road, Reigate,
Emergency access was via a manhole (shaft sealed by 1996) in the roof of a narrow ring corridor going around the WW2 control room with step irons in the wall for egress. Some ventilation plant was also located in this corridor. The WW2 control room was not incorporated into the later Emergency Centre and was used as a classroom and latterly as a store.
The ring corridor was also used to store emergency supplies including a large quantity of stretchers, blankets and crockery. These have now all been removed and donated to the Gravesend Control (Museum) and Wealden Cave and Mine Society.
By 1996 the Emergency Centre had been taken out of use although the radio room remained operational. The controllers room was used for storing ballot boxes although it still retained a large scale wall map of North East Surrey. The operations room was used as a store and was stacked with wooden shelving racks.
The Communications centre was little altered retaining desks, filing cabinets and a UKWMO message distribution board. The radio room had two transceivers and ancillary equipment which when tested was found to be working.
Throughout the bunker all the doors retained their original names. Three large nuclear effects ‘computers’ were also found in one room together with a series of 8 framed colour prints depicting the expected devastation at various distances from a ground-burst 10 megaton bomb. All these items have now been removed to Gravesend.
Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford, Malcom Tadd, Barbara Tadd and Stuart Goldsmith.