WIT Press

Protect And Survive


Free (open access)





Page Range

93 - 103




315 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


D. Page


This paper focuses on the conservation of bunkers that were built for the civilian and volunteer services during the Cold War, and examines where these sites have already been conserved and what alternate uses have been implemented or will in the future. Though limiting to sites within England, it must be emphasised that these bunkers were often part of a much larger network to cover all four provinces of the UK, and in particular case reference will be made to bunkers relating to the Cold War on a global scale. If managed properly, bunkers can be re-imagined as financially sustainable buildings by introducing radical alternative uses. However, there are numerous complications encountered when attempting to conserve and protect these sites due to differing opinions; from choosing to renounce these structures as relics of the past, or to regard them as the personification of the Cold War that can provide an educational tool for informing future generations about a period that is still not entirely understood. Whatever alternative use is favoured, the clear desire to learn more about these underground anomalies recognises that Cold War bunkers should be of national importance. The surviving bunkers provided for civil defence and the continuity of government particularly need protecting otherwise a misunderstood part of Britain’s defence heritage will be lost. Keywords: cold war, bunkers, civil defence, heritage, conservation, alternative uses, protection. 1 Introduction The term ‘Cold War’ describes the geopolitical tensions immediately after the Second World War between the Soviet Union (also known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR) who were aligned with their eastern European satellite states against the USA and its western European allies. These two ‘Blocs’ were ideologically, militarily, and economically opposed – the


cold war, bunkers, civil defence, heritage, conservation, alternative uses, protection.