Would the team in the 13 rooms of this underground civil defence command post have been able to help the community outside?
Located within Woodlands Park to the south of Gravesend Town Centre the Cold War bunker, originally Civil Defence Region 6.
Built in 1954, Gravesend Cold War bunker was designed to be an underground command post from which Gravesend's rescue and emergency services were to be co-ordinated in the event of a nuclear attack. Its 13 rooms contained power and ventilation plant, communications areas for the command staff and dormitories.
Refurbished and re-equipped to look as it was in the 1950s, the bunker gives the visitor the chance to experience its atmosphere and glimpse into Cold War England. Exhibits include a domestic fallout room, communications room and a replica radiation monitoring post.
Visitors also have the opportunity to view a government film advising the population on how to protect against a nuclear attack.
The bunker is now the proud new home to a WE177 air dropped nuclear bomb, once part of Britain's nuclear arsenal against the threat posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The WE177 'family' were variable yield nuclear weapons and all could operate in various ways, from parachute retarded or free-fall, air burst, ground burst or a burst in water.
This type of bomb was introduced into service in the Royal Air Force in the 1960s, and succeeded earlier types of air-dropped nuclear weapons. Until the introduction of the Royal Navy's submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles in the later 1960s, the RAF was the sole provider of Britain's nuclear deterrent. The WE177 was in use in parallel to the submarines and remained in service until the 1990s. Now the sole deterrent is provided by the Royal Navy. The bomb (or rather the casing in which the nuclear weapon would have been placed) is 133 inches long and weighs 900 lbs.
For more information and booking for guided tours contact Towncentric, Gravesend Visitor Centre. Group booking especially welcome. Unfortunately there is no access for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
£4.50 adults, £3.50 children
- Coach parties accepted
- Accepts groups
- Children welcome
- Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
- Smoking not allowed