Bunkers Under Bath

category bath | miscellaneous | news report author Monday November 10, 2003 15:43author by Tony Gosling/Phil Chamberlainauthor email tony at gaia dot org Report this post to the editors

Phil Chamberlain, onetime Bath Chronicle reporter, takes a peep down the various military rabbit holes in the Box and Corsham area.

ccc4.jpg
ccc4.jpg

Bunkers Under Bath
by Phil Chamberlain

For conspiracy theorists it is Britain\'s own Area 51. The American version has become such a fixture on the cult circuit that there are burger bars selling alien snacks and motels offering the best viewing points to see America\'s secret aircraft take off and land. But Britain\'s secret base has no such post-modernist trappings, just a few dedicated enthusiasts swapping tit bits on the web and a typically humdrum Ministry of Defence location.

The warren of tunnels around Corsham and Box near Bath have been home to a number of military bases since before the Second World War. Most utilised the quarries which fed the stone that made the city famous and was exported across the world. The mine workings link up in some cases with the military bases and the whole network spreads for miles with entrances dotted around the hills - some quote large and others no more than a rabbit hole in the ground.

Stop off and have a drink at The Quarryman\'s Arms near Box and you will be able to buy a map put together by University of Bath cavers which gives a guide to the mine workings. Be warned though that it is easy to get lost only yards from a tunnel entrance and much of the workings have not been rendered safe.

For the military, the tunnel\'s position was far enough away from London not to attract attention yet still only a few hours from the capital and with good rail links and the Bristol port all within easy reach. Indeed the rail links remain with rumours of secret sidings on the mainline route as it passes through various tunnels connecting military gauges with the public network.

The tunnels were home to a number of stores, mostly ammunition, during the last war. Local author Nick McCamley has charted the development of these underground works in his book Secret Underground Cities. And cities is an apt word.

The sites beneath the hills included an underground aircraft engine factory, operated by the Bristol Aeroplane Company. It was home to 18,000 workers, covered three million square feet between Corsham and Box and contained around 60 miles of subterranean tracks.

Another, the Central Ammunition Dump at Corsham was the biggest of its kind in the country. One of the three parts of the CAD was actually nearer Bradford on Avon, and based at Monkton Farleigh Quarry. The biggest ammunition store in the world at the time, it covered 45 acres of underground space and had a maximum capacity of 120,000 tons of ammunition.

Also making up the CAD was Tunnel Quarry, a 40 acre air-conditioned ammunition store on the north side of the Box tunnel, while the third quarry, Eastlays, occupied 30 acres near Gastard, south-east of Corsham. The security of the sites can be gauged by the fact that many important works of art were shipped there for safe-keeping during the war.

Go for a drink at the Cross Guns at Avoncliffe and look at the hill above. During the war, inside that hill, sat the Crown Jewels, the Elgin Marbles and various other treasures from London museums.

The military works provided employment for thousands of local people before, during and after the war. Little was officially known about them because, in that typically reserved British way, the sites were secret.
Local gossip certainly gave clues to the scale of the operations and many people have their own urban myths about the tunnels. One is that all the cellars under Bath\'s central Milsom Street link up and a direct route - past the former Admiralty headquarters in the city - went straight to Box.

But apart from tall tales told in pubs the sites remained secure - a few air vents and vehicle entrances the only outward sign of their existence. There was a price to be paid for some of those workers who toiled underground. Asbestos was used to line the walls of the undergrouns offices. An inquest held in 1999 into the death of 81-year-old Ada Harding from Corsham found she had died from a cancer caused by inhaling the deadly fibres. Coroner\'s officer Douglas Hills told the inquest: \'The entire complex was piped, the piping neing lagged with asbestos. Very large quantities of blue asbestos sheeting were used.\'

Mrs Harding\'s daughters both worked for the MoD in their underground facilities. One, Carol Boon, said: \'People liked working underground and they had all the facilities there. They really enjoyed it.\'

One of the more astounding secrets the government kept hidden was that one part of the network was identified as a Cold War government bolt hole in case the bomb ever dropped.

Called Burlington, the bunker was equipped to house 5,000 people and had a hospital, bakery and laundry. It replicated Whitehall down to a version of the famous Red Lion pub which sits on the corner of Parliament Square in London. That bunker was finally decommissioned in 1989 and various other sections are gradually being sold off of retired.

Indeed a science park is planned for one above-ground section at Rudloe and Spring Quarry is being turned into a film studio. Other parts are used as warehouses for storing senstive items in the temperature-controlled vaults by a private company. But parts of the rest of the site remain in government hands. It is this part, and specifically the Corsham Computer Centre (CCC) near the former RAF Rudloe Manor base, that has attracted attention from conspiracy theory minded investigators.

On the one hand you have mainstream groups interested in mapping and documenting the military history of Britain and they work with the tacit approval of official agencies. Then there are the more esoteric groups which believe much remains hidden and still active beneath the hills.

The RAF\'s involvement, it used to have signal facilities at Rudloe, has led to suggestions that it was Britain\'s UFO headquarters and that the staff based at Rudloe were on alien-watch.

Meanwhile investigative journalist Duncan Campbell paid a visit to the CCC which be believes is a secretly-funded NATO nuclear command centre. Less a base for friends from outer-space more your old-fashioned \'black\' project - built away from the prying eyes of Parliament and one of a number of Cold War nerve centres.

Various enthusiasts have made life less humdrum for the military police at the CCC by attempting to get into the base which is officially no more interesting than its name.

Much of what remains underground is, pardon the pun, buried from official scrutiny and since Campbell\'s original claims there has been little hard evidence to show that anything too elaborate is going on. But then it took decades before anyone found out about Burlington. And there are still plenty of rumours being told at the pubs around these Wiltshire hills.


Secret Underground Cities, Nick McCamley
Take an Underground Tour of Monkton Farleigh
Truthseekers guide to RAF Rudloe Manor
Richard J Challis page on Monkton Farleigh Concise
History of Bath Stone Quarries in the Corsham area

Related Link: http://www.truthseekers.freeserve.co.uk/truth/tr15bunke...s.htm
author by Tony Goslingpublication date Mon Nov 10, 2003 16:20Report this post to the editors

a picture of corsham computer centre


ccc2.jpg

author by whiteypublication date Mon Nov 10, 2003 16:28Report this post to the editors

what's new?

author by gurningchimppublication date Tue Nov 11, 2003 09:18Report this post to the editors

Visiting my grandparents, who lived about 10 minutes from the underground sites in Corsham, and regularly seeing massive slogans and CND symbols painted across the road outside...

Most were of a 'give peace a chance' vein, but the odd one would be a bit more surreal; refering to aliens and such.

Nice article anyhow, brought back a few memories and filled in a few gaps.

Ta.

author by Alvin Hallpublication date Tue Nov 11, 2003 15:51Report this post to the editors

why didn't phil chamberlain post this up himself?

This appears to be old news rehashed...a speciality of the Bath Chronic.

author by Tony Goslingpublication date Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:37author email tony at gaia dot orgReport this post to the editors

Interesting that this story 'disappeared' off the Bristol Indymedia site - wonder how or why and by whom?!?! Also it has never been published before as some people have said - certainly not in the generally boring Bath Chronicle.

author by Tony Goslingpublication date Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:37author email tony at gaia dot orgReport this post to the editors

Interesting that this story 'disappeared' off the centre column of the Bristol Indymedia site - wonder how or why and by whom?!?! Also it has never been published before as some people have said - certainly not in the generally boring Bath Chronicle.

author by Tony Goslingpublication date Wed Nov 12, 2003 14:07author email tony at gaia dot orgReport this post to the editors

This feature has been censored several times now by Bristol IMC people - none seems to want answers to their doubts about why the feature deserves to be there. See the list for discussions.
http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-bristol/2003-November/date.html

Who needs NATO agents with censors like this in our midst! Anyway here are the links that were on the feature before it was deleted.

The following links to the following articles were also censored when Bristol IMC editors removed the feature:

The Burlington Bunker
http://www.corshamtown.co.uk/burlington.html

Truthseekers: Bunker Busters
http://www.truthseekers.freeserve.co.uk/truth/tr15bunkers.htm


I hope some of the people who have been censoring it will gave the courage to post comments here.

Tony

author by Sue Denimpublication date Wed Nov 12, 2003 14:57Report this post to the editors

Tony – this was discussed at the meeting. It seemed to people there that it was a 'cut and paste' job from the Bath Chronicle, and people were also concerned that the author of the piece may not have given his permission- as has been the case with another story that you posted.
From the information that you have given today it seems that neither of those assumptions were correct. You have permission, and this particular 'copy' has not been published before (although a very similar story has appeared in the chronicle).
You should have been notified by e-mail before the story was hidden, and I feel that the person who 'hid it' should have had the courtesy to do that.
I don't think however that the newswire is the place to discuss this, and you should send an e-mail to the list rather than airing grievances here.

author by Sue Denimpublication date Wed Nov 12, 2003 14:57Report this post to the editors

Tony – this was discussed at the meeting. It seemed to people there that it was a 'cut and paste' job from the Bath Chronicle, and people were also concerned that the author of the piece may not have given his permission- as has been the case with another story that you posted.
From the information that you have given today it seems that neither of those assumptions were correct. You have permission, and this particular 'copy' has not been published before (although a very similar story has appeared in the chronicle).
You should have been notified by e-mail before the story was hidden, and I feel that the person who 'hid it' should have had the courtesy to do that.
I don't think however that the newswire is the place to discuss this, and you should send an e-mail to the list rather than airing grievances here.

author by Tony Gpublication date Wed Nov 12, 2003 21:32Report this post to the editors

Nettleden.com represents a group of urban explorers based in and around Wiltshire. http://www.chocolatechipdesign.co.uk/nettleden/access.html

author by Joe paranoidpublication date Wed Nov 12, 2003 22:38Report this post to the editors

I'm being followed by people because I read this.

author by Anna Nimpublication date Thu Nov 13, 2003 00:04Report this post to the editors

For all the supposedly 'exclusive' claims being made here its remarkably light on original evidence.

The Burlington bunker was common knowledge when I was a kid at school in the 1980's.

Finally all of the links below the article don't work - shabby

author by kpublication date Sun Nov 16, 2003 11:36Report this post to the editors

Just to note that this article remains on the newswire (hence we can see it!) - no one has suggested it should be hidden and it has not been hidden. It was removed from the middle column after the b-imc meeting agreed to do so, but remains here on the newswire for all to see. Having spoken to other imc volunteers we regret that the demoting of this article from the front page has caused so much angst. However, as we established at the meeting, there is an accepted principle that no one promotes their own articles to the middle column.
We need to stick to our own guidelines to avoid becoming hypocritical.

If a b-imc volunteer has a made a posting which he/she really feels should go in the middle column, the (public) email list is the place for that discussion. Perhaps at the next meeting we should run through the guidelines again, and also through our use of communication channels such as the email list, so that we're all on the same wave length, and no one need feel that they are being censored when they are not.

I hope the above, in addition to the discussion on-list which this issue has sparked, has helped to clarify the situation and to make clear that there is no personal vendetta going on here, just a misunderstanding on how the site operates.

author by Tony Goslingpublication date Wed Aug 04, 2004 14:10Report this post to the editors

The main news hook for this article was that US service personnel (not the usual civilians) had been spotted loading crates of brand new computers from Texas into the CCC.
This is a NATO base and the UK service personnel which my contact spoke to wer extremely annoyed that the US soldiers were treating the base as their own and not telling British service personnel what they were doing
The above story was deleted from the centre column of Bristol Indymedia after Ian Ferguson and others brought it up for discussion after I had left a BIMC meeting at the Kebele Cafe!
Just to put the record straight once and for all.
Tony

author by Stevepublication date Wed Aug 11, 2004 00:42author email nettleden at nettleden dot comReport this post to the editors

Thanks for the link.
Well written feature!
Good work!
Steve

author by Lone Wolf - Truth, Justice & Freedompublication date Fri Feb 06, 2009 23:12Report this post to the editors

Since Matthew Williams coined the wrong title here and everyone has simply followed, its about time you all became aware of the actual REAL meaning of CCC......................It is NOT corsham computer centre (sounding like a shop selling PCs and stuff) it actually is as anyone with a reality about them....................Command and Control Centre......................GET IT RIGHT PLEASE

author by Treadstonepublication date Fri Sep 10, 2010 21:44Report this post to the editors

...makes it sound like PC World or something.

I always thought C.C.C. stood for 'Command & Control Centre' - then again, I only work there.

author by Westospublication date Sun Sep 12, 2010 13:33Report this post to the editors

...is obviously a walt. Unless of course Peel Circus has been sold off as an Airsoft venue!

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