Cold War bunker

Barnton Quarry, near Edinburgh, was built in the 1950s (Picture: SWNS).

A secret Cold War nuclear bunker which was designed to accommodate 400 politicians underground is about to open to the public.

The historic bunker in Barnton Quarry, near Edinburgh, was built in the 1950s in the midst of fear of Soviet power - and remained a secret until the 1980s.

Deep underground in Corstorphine Hill, four miles from the capital, it served as Sector Operations Centre for co-coordinating RAF fighter jets and protected Scotland from attacks by Russian long-range nuclear bombers until around 1960.

It was used as a control centre where information was analysed and became a base for a radar air defence system. Later it was reconfigured to become a regional seat of government in the event of a nuclear attack, designed to accommodate civil servants for up to 30 days.

But in the 1990s it fell victim to vandals who torched it and raided the interior for scrap metal.

Cold War bunker CREDIT SWNS
The bunker was one of 38 which were built in Britain and measures 37,000 square feet (Picture: SWNS).

It was built over three floors, including an operating room with two storeys.

Grant More volunteered his time to help open the bunker to the public says it is "one of the largest nuclear bunkers in the UK".

The project began in 2011 and is hoped to be finished by 2021, with a huge telecommunications exchange which could be restored as it once was.

Mr More said: "This sort of building you can’t preserve commercially so there’s a kind of symbiotic relationship for the guys running the museum getting the place restored economically and us getting to restore a piece of history.

"During World War Two, the British government devised a large scale radar system which later became the ROTOR radar air defence system to deter the Soviet threat during the Cold War.

"The bunkers were part of that with the ten foot thick roofs and walls.

"Back in the day, you needed a control operations centre where all the information was brought in and analysed - Barnton Quarry was top of the command and control hierarchy.

Cold War bunker
The restoration project began in 2011 (Picture: SWNS).

"They spent an immense amount of money on the bunkers then by the late 1950s they were redundant.

"About 400 people used to run shifts at Barnton Quarry in 1956, including fighter commanders and plotters.

"It was the first line of defence against the Russians.

"But by the time the 1960s came along, it went from bombers to long-range missiles.

"In 1964, Barnton Quarry was reconfigured as Scottish Central Control - a regional seat of government - in the event of a nuclear attack, designed to accommodate 400 politicians and civil servants for up to 30 days.

"There was diesel generators and water and food supplies on site in preparation for nuclear war.

"In the early 1990s, vandals set fire and pretty much devastated the building, so much so it took fire crews spent five days putting it out.

"Then in 2011 we started working on it, but the buildings been open to the elements so we actually spent a good couple of years cleaning it out."

The bunker will be open to the public during the weekend of 29 - 30 September as part of Doors Open Day 2018.

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