Secret Underground Cities
by Nick McCamley
338 pages, 156mm x 234mm x 30mm
ISBN: 978 0 9928554 0 6
Price: £15.00 post free to UK mainland addresses
Publication date: April 2014
New revised edition of a 1998 classic
Secret Underground Cities is the history of the series of vast underground arsenals, factories and control bunkers built by the British government during the Second World War, and of the new uses found for many of these subterranean cities as nuclear shelters and command centres during the period of post-war, Cold War paranoia. After an introduction explaining the inter-war military, economic and political factors that influenced the government's policy on underground protection, the book goes on to describe in detail the construction and operation of all the major sites including:
- Central Ammunition Depot Corsham - Tunnel Quarry, Monkton Farleigh, and the Ridge/Eastlays underground complex.
- The two-million square foot Spring Quarry underground aircraft engine factory at Corsham, and the smaller sites at Drakelow, Warren Row, Westwood and Dudley.
- The secret underground repositories built to house the contents of the National Gallery at Manod in the Snowdon mountains, and the quarry at Westwood in Wiltshire that housed the treasures of the V&A and the British Museum.
- The underground headquarters built in Brown's Quarry (later known as RAF Rudloe Manor) to house the headquarters of No.10 Group, Fighter Command. This later became the hub of the western sector of the 'Rotor' radar system.
- Amongst the other WW2 sites covered are the RAF storage depots at Fauld, Harpur Hill and Chilmark as well as the Admiralty and Ministry of Supply depots at Copenacre, Monk's Park, Hayes Wood at Limpley Stoke and others.
- The final section of the book describes how Spring Quarry at Corsham became the National Government War Headquarters - the fabled city of 'Burlington' - from where the government would launch any retaliatory nuclear attack, and which would become the home of the War Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff Committee, together with 4,000 Civil Servants.