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These photographs were taken in June 2002 during a very enjoyable visit to the Essex Secret Bunker, otherwise known as Furze Hill. My thanks to Mike Best & the THG for organising the trip and to Dr James Fox (the Curator) for his warm welcome. Unfortunately the Essex Secret Bunker closed it's doors in December 2002 and is no longer open to the public.

Furze Hill was constructed in 1951 at a cost of 500,000 by the Ministry of Defence as a command centre for the deployment and firing of anti-aircraft defences. The building was maintained by the War Office from 1954-1963. In 1963 the bunker was purchased by Essex County Council from the War Office at a cost of 5,250 and became their emergency headquarters in the event of a nuclear war.

In 1993 the requirement for each county to maintain an emergency HQ was removed by the government. In early 1995 the renovation and refurbishment of the building commenced. Furze Hill officially opened as a museum on Friday 5th April 1996.

The semi-sunk building provided space of around 2,000 square metres, the walls are constructed of 75cm thick concrete which is strengthened every few centimetres with steel mesh. The roof is over one metre thick and the foundations are set in three metres of concrete. The entrances are protected by heavy blast walls and canopies, with outer blast doors constructed of tank steel.

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Views from the outside of Essex Secret Bunker
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Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR) HQ
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Operations Room Gallery Data Terminal
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Central Operations Room
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Central Operations Room
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Central Operations Room
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Map Room
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County Controller's Office Scientist's Room
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Communications Centre (COMCEN)
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Communications Centre (COMCEN)

Telex Machine
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Radio Room
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Radio Room

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PABX (Old Switchboard)
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Telephone Exchange (with Merlin System)

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