- Hardcover: 284 pages
- Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd; First Edition edition (Nov. 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0850525853
- ISBN-13: 978-0850525854
- Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.2 x 3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Secret Underground Cities Hardcover – Nov 1998
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From the Author
A guide to the secret govt sites described in this book
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.
Many of these underground sites were concentrated in the Corsham area of North Wiltshire, where hundreds of acres of disused stone mines, buried over 100 below the peaceful rural landscape, were converted at the cost of tens of millions of pounds, into huge and awesome bomb-proof cities.
After an introduction explaining the inter-war military, economic and political factors that influenced the governments policy on underground protection, the book goes on describe in detail the construction and operation of all the major sites including: (1) CENTRAL AMMUNITION DEPOT CORSHAM (Tunnel Quarry, Monkton Farleigh Quarry, and the Ridge/Eastlays underground complex)
(2) The two-million square foot SPRING QUARRY underground aircraft engine factory at Corsham, and the other smaller but similar sites at DRAKELOW, WARREN ROW, WESTWOOD and DUDLEY
(3) The sinister and secret underground repositories built to house the contents of the National Gallery at MONOD, in the bleak mountains to the North of Ffestiniog, and the deep stone quarry at WESTWOOD in Wiltshire that housed the greatest treasures of the V&A and the British Museum.
(4) The underground headquarters built in BROWNS 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, and later still became of pivotal importance in the governments system of nuclear war headquarters.
(5) Amongst the other WW2 sites covered are the RAF storage depots at FAULD, HARPUR HILL and CHILMARK as well as the Admiralty and MoS depots at COPENACRE, MONKS PARK, HAYES WOOD (Limpley Stoke) etc.
The final section of the book describes in some detail how, in the 1960s, the underground factories at Drakelow and Warren Row were converted into Regional Seats of Government for use in event of nuclear war. It also 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 some 5,000 Civil Servants.
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Top Customer Reviews
A little more on the underground RAF bomb-depots would perhaps have been welcome, along with details of the 'sinister' mustard gas factory at Rhydymwn, which, tantalyzingly, gets just a passing mention.
Overall though, a gem squeezed into 270 pages.
Excellent book, full of interesting information about these WW2 ammo stores. Plenty of diagrams and photos, but could have done with some more detailed maps of where the sites are and a chapter on what the sites are like today. Well worth buying, though.
The book takes you from pre World War II. Through the war years and up to quite recently.
The book includes many maps of the underground tunnel systems along with photos during their development and usage.
If you are interested in underground defence establishments. Then this is an absolute must have book for you.
The history is interesting, the detail provided very satisfactory and the thought that such works would be simply unaffordable nowadays is quite telling.
Mr McCamley has done a fine job here, which should be interesting to all 20th century military historians, civil engineers and many others.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought as a gift can not comment much about content but person whom it was bought for was very pleased and is often seen with his nose in the pagesPublished 13 months ago by caroline rogers
Fascinating, although like all such books I suspect that there are a few minor factual errors. Difficult to check, of course, and that is the problem with all such works on what is... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Alan Campbell
If ever there was a book that promised so much in its title and then delivered so little in its content this must be it. Read morePublished on 20 April 2006 by WW2 Buff
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