The Salisbury Urban District Control Centre was located in a former post war underground military telephone exchange in a small area of woodland at the junction of Old Blandford Road and Grassmere Close on the southern outskirts of the city. The bunker replaced the former control in the basement of ‘The Council House’ in Bourne Hill in September 1963 (gas tight doors and the standby generator are still in place in the ‘Council House’). There is little evidence above ground with a small fenced entrance cutting (cut into the wooded slope) accessed by a short track from the road junction. Immediately north of this is a fenced compound with a large cellphone mast. In two corners of this compound are square brick ventilation towers about 8 feet high and just to the north of the compound is the emergency escape hatch flush with the ground. It is chained shut from the inside.
The entrance consists of a heavy steel door, once inside the wide passage turns to the right sloping downwards into the bunker for 23 metres.
At the bottom of the slope is a double gas tight door into the decontamination room. Although the bunker was modernised in the late 1980’s no blast doors were installed. All the original steel gas doors that were fitted when the bunker was built in the early 1950’s are still in place; each has a small circular window.
The rectangular decontamination room is at right angles to the entrance passage, to the left is a shower and hand pump. To the right is a second set of double gas tight doors into the standby generator room. The generator is a Lister; above it is a small fuel tank with a larger tank on the floor to one side. On the wall are various electrical control boxes and switchgear. Back in the decontamination room the main wide corridor continues straight ahead (with a slight dog leg) through a third set of double gas tight doors.
The first room on the left is the ‘L’ shaped communications room and within it the smaller BT/GPO room. The BT room has been stripped apart from a large junction box and all the incoming and outgoing telephone cables. The communications room still contains seven acoustic booths, each with it’s own light. 6 are around the outside walls of the BT room and the seventh on the corridor wall. On the opposite side of this room a door opens into another room, which is stripped of any original fittings.
On the right hand side of the main corridor is the ventilation and filtration plant room. All the plant was fitted in the late 1980’s feeding into the original trunking. It is made by Andair and is of a similar design to those found in many 1980’s bunkers with three cylindrical filter drums that can be switched in and out as required. The plant was found to be in good working order.
At the end of the main corridor is the control room with its teak parquet flooring still in good condition; it’s the largest room in the bunker. Although it has been stripped of any original fittings there are still two 1” ordnance survey maps on the wall. On the left hand side are two rooms, the first room can also be reached through the communications room; it is accessed through double sliding doors. The second room contains three bunk beds that have been pushed together, this was probably the dormitory. At the far side of the dormitory is one of two toilets with two WC cubicles fitted with Elsan chemical toilets and three handbasins.
On the far wall of the control room are two further rooms, to the left the kitchen/canteen which still retains it’s Butler sink with a draining board and food preparation surface and another bunk bed again moved from its original position. The room has a tiled floor. Next to the kitchen is a second toilet with one handbasin, one cubicle and a flushing WC. On the right hand side of the control room is a single gas tight door (now detached) and a twenty foot narrow passage to the bottom of the emergency escape shaft, which is about 25’ deep with climbing irons across one corner.
The bunker is dry (although there is some evidence of damp on the woodwork) with lights working in all the rooms. It has in the past been used for storing election equipment with some items still remaining including a stack of folding tables in the control room.
Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford, Keith Ward, Nick McCamley and Bob Jenner.