Cold War Sites

Fort Widley Civil Defence Bunker

  Created 28-04-2002   Last update 08-11-2015

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 back of barrack block

The gorge at the back of the barrack block. The lower floor like the front has its windows bricked up. Originally to get from the barracks to the magazine tunnel you would have had to step out of the barrack block, into the gorge, then through the doors to the tunnel. To provide a continuous protected area the magazine tunnel was extended into the barrack block by the brick structure shown in the centre of the photo.

southern protected tunnel

Looking south within the main magazine tunnel. The magazine, now converted to the civil defence operations room is on the right. To the left is the telephone exchange. Overhead is the trunking leading towards the camera from the air filtration room, and turning right into the ops room..



 northern air lock

The 4 man air lock at the northern end of the magazine tunnel, based on a Naval pattern. Beyond this is the spiral staircase and Victorian ammunition lift, and beyond that the west and east mortar batteries and flanking gallery. The square hole in the wall on the left is a pressure equalisation valve.

 plotting room

The main operations room occupying the northern half of the old magazine. Much of what can be seen here is original, although the layout has been altered for display purposes. The wall map on the extreme left shows all of the ROC monitoring posts in the UK. Above this is the Perspex observation room, which allows an overall view of the Situation Maps on the right wall. The door at the back leads to the original lighting passage and ventilation shaft, which now doubles up as a cable duct.

MSX teleprinterradiation measuring equipment

A teleprinter with a card describing the operating instructions.

Radiation monitors. The cases are made from bakelite and wood.

resources blackboardnotice board

There are various blackboards indicating the state of play. It dawned on me whilst taking this photo that I could once have been a statistic on this board.

Text and graphical posters (of the before & after kind)  indicating the effects of a thermonuclear detonation at various distances from a built up area.

 You can visit this site. Click here for details.

  The following are extracts from emails received:

My uncle, Cyril Patrick Clover, was in the Portsmouth Police force and in the Civil Defence team at Fort Widley.

I remember as a child how I was at home in Old Portsmouth when he rang from the Civil Defence centre asking me to put the telephone handset near a radio as he needed to hear the 12:00 noon 'pips' from Greenwich. This was so that he could fire-up the air raid siren system at a precise time. The pips duly went off a few minutes later on the 1500 metres long wave BBC Home Service, and on cue, the siren near our house and across the city went off like banshees on a routine test.

It seems that there was no suitable or working radio receiver in the centre so he devised this workaround, presumably hoping that we would be in to receive the call. This was in the mid-1950s.

David Clover - 8 November, 2015




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