The emergency centre at Castle Point Borough Council was the last to build in Essex along with the emergency centre at Uttlesford District Council and was finished just before the end of the Cold War. The centre is in the basement of the extension to the council offices. The centre along with the other part of the basement which is not protected was built at a cost of £500,000, 75% of which was paid for by the government.
This view shows the entrance to the bunker at the bottom of the stairs which lead down from the main reception. The door is made up of heavy steel and concrete and is 8 inches thick.
Once the main door is closed this give you a good idea of just how thick the doors is, having tried to lock one of these doors myself I can vouch for how heavy they are and how well they seal when the handles are pushed down.
Having gone through the main door you come into the decontamination area, in this room there is a shower, the water tanks for the bunker which would only be filled once the bunker was sealed and cut off from the outside, and chemical Toilets. Standing just inside the main entrance, on your left is another blast door, again steal and concrete but this time only 4 inches thick. This leads to the Generator room. The generator itself has had little use, it has been tested regularly but on our visit the emergency planning officer informed us that it was know longer required and they were considering removing it to give them more storage space.
This is looking back at the main blast door and the decontamination shower and in the left corner of the photo, the edge of one of the water tanks.
At the other end of the decontamination room is the double blast doors which form an air lock in the the main area of the main part of the bunker and the control room.
This centre is some what smaller than that at Uttlesford District Council but is still laid out well. There are tables arranged around the centre of the room, as can be seen from the photo there are also a number of maps on the walls of the local area. From this room there is an entrance back into the ventilation room so that you don’t have to open the main air lock. All the equipment is this room is still in place and is in working order.
Behind the main control room is another small room which is the communication room. There is all the usual radio equipment including Raynet, and the county radio network plus a SX50 ECN (Emergency Communications Network) unit. All of this equipment is still in use and is used from time time during exercise.
At the back of the communications room there is another blast door, this leads to the non protected part of the basement then on to the emergency exit (whish can be seen from the photo on the right). As well as another set of stairs leading upstairs to the main offices
This photo shows were the emergency exit leads to.
Back in the Control room there is a short corridor running along one of the walls of the bunker, off this corridor there is kitchen (the door in the picture), unfortunately it can’t be used as well as they would like as the water is hand pump through nuclear filters and so they have to bring bottled water down. They are thinking of doing away with the filters and installing a normal tap so they can use the water probably. To the left is a small canteen and through this is a dormitory which still has a number of triple bunks in place as well as 12 metal lockers to equal the number of people able to sleep in the dorm.
This photo shows the hand pump system which is used in the bunker. On the right side of the corridor is a small wash room with three sinks again with a hand pump system through filters and so can’t be used. Beyond this there are three unisex toilets (chemical ones). At the far end of the corridor is a tank room which holds three large water tanks for the bunkers supply when it is cut off from the outside. These are kept dry and clean during peace time and would only be filled in the lead up to a war.
The visit was attended by a number of subbrit members and arranged by my myself. Our host was Clive Cooper who was the Emergency Planning Officer at Uttlesford District Council.