What's your bid for a British Cold War bunker?
By David Szondy
March 10, 2014
You can never be too careful, and if you have a upwards of £200,000 (US$330,000) laying around, you could sleep a little easier as the new owner of a nuclear bunker. Built by the British government during the Cold War to ride out a Soviet attack, the decommissioned Cultybraggan Camp bunker is being put on the block as part of a plan to preserve and redevelop the former British Army camp.
Unlike many other previously secret bunkers that were sited under hotels and other seemingly innocent locations, Cultybraggan looks like a nuclear bunker. Tucked into the back of the camp, it’s surrounded by its own security fence and consists of two levels with the upper level above ground, though buried under soil. It’s hard to miss even from a distance because it’s topped by a large ventilator and a radio mast.
Once you get through a pair of blast doors, you’re faced with a huge installation covering about 26,000 sq ft (2,400 sq m) of carpeted space.There are 50 rooms designed to house 150 personnel in time of emergency, with a meeting room, kitchen, generator, life support systems, water tanks, dormitory, hospital, workshop, and even a BBC studio. And if you’re looking for a fixer upper, the floors contain large, removable concrete slabs, which makes it easy to upgrade and replace equipment.
Located outside Comrie, Scotland, Cultybraggan Camp isn't much to look at with its rows of Nissen huts and brick buildings. It was built in 1941 as PoW camp No. 21 for holding 4,000 of the most fanatical Nazi prisoners of war, and Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess spent a night there after he parachuted into Scotland from a Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter plane in May of that year.
Cultybraggan was a bit of a backwater after the war, when it hosted various British Army units and a Royal Observers Corp post. Then, in the late 1980s, it was chosen as the site for a new Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ) nuclear bunker. Completed in 1990 at the cost of £30 million (US$50 million), it was part of a strategy for dispersing the government in time of war to improve the chances of surviving a nuclear attack, with Cultybraggan controlling Region 1 (Scotland). From there, the Secretary of State for Scotland, the BBC, British Telecom, and other services could continue to operate after the bombs stopped falling.
Despite the cost, the end of the Cold War left Cultybraggan without a job, so in the early ‘90s it was sold to the Army, then to the Cumrie Development Trust in 2007 for preservation and redevelopment.
On March 27, at the Edinburgh Marriott Hotel, Future Property Auctions will put the decommissioned Cultybraggan Camp bunker on the block with bids starting at £200,000.