During the 1980’s Merseyside County Standby was located in the basement of the Southport College in Mornington Road. Towards the end of the decade it was co-located with Sefton Metropolitan Borough Emergency Centre when they vacated their previous premises at the Southport Floral Hall. Sefton’s stay at the Technical College was short lived as in the late 1980’s Southport Technical College became divorced from the Sefton MBC Education Department and the college wanted their accommodation returned.
It was therefore decided to relocate Merseyside County Standby to the Glenda Jackson Theatre in Birkenhead and to co-locate it with the Wirral Emergency Centre. Earlier, Sefton MB Emergency Centre was relocated to accommodation at Southport Town Hall where their new Emergency Centre opened early in 1991, BT Engineers having removed all their equipment from the Technical College basement on 28 November 1990. It still retains its TSX50 ECN unit at this new location.
When in use, the Merseyside standby at Southport would have been equipped with 1 10 + 50 PMBX switchboard, 6 private wires (to County Main, Sefton, St. Helens and Knowsley EC’s, RGHQ at Duke’s House and UKWMO), 7 Type 7 teleprinters, 4 Type 107A S + DX units, 2 5 line broadcast units, 2 Auto transmitters, WB1400 and two aerial feeder cables and roof mounted aerial for Raynet use.
Two rooms were adapted and accessed down a ramp from the rear of the college. The ramp opens into a large room which was not part of the bunker, passing through this room a door opens into a narrow room that contains the remains of a floor standing equipment rack with an ROC cluster map of the UK on the wall. There is a film overlay over the map indicating its use in an exercise.
This room leads into the second larger room (6 metres X 4 metres). This is now used for storage but still contains 7 teleprinter tables with control units and internal power supplies. These are linked to the RGHQ in Duke House, UKWMO, County Main and one each to Knowsley, St. Helens and Sefton Emergency Centres. There are three other tables, one containing siren controls and another two for the broadcast units with the control panels remaining in place. There is another ROC cluster map on the wall with a film overlay. The ten tables and maps are due to be moved to the Hack Green museum in 2002 leaving no remaining evidence of the basements former use.
Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford , Keith Ward , Rod Siebert, John Fogg and Robin Ware.