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Friday, July 22, 2016

UK Prime Minister's Massive Nuclear Proof Bunker Revealed

Inside the Prime Minister's nuclear bunker: A TV studio, a map of Iran and enough toothpaste for months

18:23, 22 JUL 2016 | UPDATED 18:53, 22 JUL 2016 | BY STEVE MYALL

If World War Three erupts the Prime Minister can go to the Ministry of Defence's nuclear bunker - a world of secret briefing rooms and decontamination suites

Back door area

Deep beneath central London lies a massive nuclear proof bunker which will house Theresa May and the nation's military leaders if Britain is attacked.

If World War Three erupts and the Prime Minister launches Trident Missiles she needn't worry because she has the ultimate bolt hole.

And these photographs offer a rare glimpse into it - a world of briefing rooms, decontamination suites and communication and command and control offices.

Inside the bunker

Stockpiled supplies

It can be cut off from the outside world at a few minutes notice and has it's own ventilation system to allow people to breath without ingesting outside air.

The Pindar Bunker lies four stories deep, even deeper than the Tube lines which criss cross the capital, and is crammed with modern technology, including the ability to take over Britain's entire communications network.

Changing area

Broadcast studio

Its construction - which took ten years and reportedly cost £126.3 million - was finished in the mid 1990s and was highly secret with plans being held back from public records.

More than 100 top politicians, generals and others could live in the bunker, built on the orders of Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties, in the event of nuclear war, a chemical weapons onslaught or other major attack.

It's name comes from Greek lyric poet, Pindar, whose house was apparently spared when Alexander the Great sacked Thebes in 335 BC.

The extraordinary pictures were taken by photographer David Moore who was granted access after explaining he was doing an art project.

They show an interior far from comfortable luxury - a utilitarian style reminiscent of the Cold War of the 1980s, like something from a John Le Carre book.

Broadcast studio

TV room

In the pictures there is a huge bank of televisions like something from the lair of a baddie from a James Bond film, a giant document shredder and a simple medical bay.

There are bedrooms with simple bunks where the Prime Minister would sleep and cupboards stocked with mundane items like shower gel and toothpaste alongside glass cases holding breathing apparatus suits.

When David visited he saw a book shelf holding titles such as the classic cold war spy thriller The Ipcress File by Len Deighton as well as a sign on the wall reading “To the Bomb shelter area”.

Senior bunk room

Although no photographs of people were permitted David is keen to stress the bunker is not “Cold War nostalgia”.

He said: “It is permanently manned around the clock.

“And although not everywhere we went was operating it was on standby."

Level 2 entry capsule

“There was a mess where staff could eat and the rooms were clearly used for briefings of some sort.”

Upon completion of his project, David and the Ministry of Defence convened for a censorship panel.

No images could be — or have been — released without ministry approval.

Bunk operations room

Medical centre

He said: “I was asked to digitally manipulate some of the images.

“Door numbers were redacted and we haggled over descriptions and captions. A reference number from a map of Iran was taken off.”

David's pictures were taken for his book The Last Things which was published in 2008 but he believes no photographer has been allowed down since his visit.

Pindar is one of a series of shelters scattered across the country which is where the military and civilian command will hide out in the event of war.

Information book

Ministry of Defence conference room

Traditionally the Prime Minister is the only person provided with a bunker for their family – so their welfare does not affect his or her judgment in deciding whether to press the nuclear button.

The operational bunkers are off limits to the public but in January a DIY one built at the height of Cold War fear received Grade II listing from the Government.

The shelter, constructed in 1982 in Noel Barrett's back garden , is one of the few surviving reminders of the impact the Cold War threat had on the public.

Mr Barrett, from Norfolk, used mainly second-hand materials such as reinforced concrete, steel and brick to create the one-storey bunker, which was designed to protect him and his family in the event of nuclear fall-out.

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