Getting away from it all

It seems like forever since the last one, but it's only been two months. The (16th) Military History Carnival has been posted at the Osprey Blog. A few present-day items seem to have snuck in, but there's still plenty of history in there. My selection this time is about Burlington, at Underground, a rather beautiful photoblog about things underground. Burlington was a nuclear bunker in Wiltshire, built in the late 1950s to preserve continuity of government, should London fall to a knock-out blow nuclear strike. So there was room for the Prime Minister, some of the more important ministers and enough support staff to keep them and the country running for months. Underground links to another website with more information, including a fascinating internal phone directory from 1968, which shows just who was needed and who was not. The presence of 23 shipping officers and 12 for oil transport suggests that some semblance of national or even international economic transactions was anticipated. 50 fire control personnel, more than double those assigned to domestic and laundry duties, possibly seems excessive -- unless such time as they were actually needed, I suppose! On the other hand, a platoon of guards doesn't seem like much to defend the government with, but I guess it was more for internal security, and maybe there were more up top. 16 diplomatic staff -- maybe from the other 14 NATO members at the time, plus South Africa and Australia? And the biggest single contingent is for communications: a whopping 158 people. Which is a reminder of just how important it was to be able to talk to the outside world -- not much of a government if you can't tell anyone what to do -- and just how the technology has changed: you could probably run such a bunker with less than a tenth as many IT staff today ...

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

One thought on “Getting away from it all

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *