Graded locations

Listed buildings are graded in each location in this blog. Eg. Grade I, II* II of grade I is of most importance. Grade A relates to Scotland. See BLB

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, Essex - Underground, shelter, tunnels, offices

Our visit to Kelvedon Hatch was unplanned, we had found out about it by chance in a leaflet in a tourist information hut. My other half is a bit of a military history buff and persuaded me to take a trip there even though it was an 80 mile round trip from Cambridge, but it was well worth the journey! We were lucky enough to visit when the bunker when it was devoid of all visitors, we had the place all to ourselves. I had no idea that there was a paranormal interest with the place. When we reached the end, in the canteen area at the exit, we saw posters for some up and coming paranormal events.

Nestled deep in the Essex countryside and screened by thick woodland is an un-assuming little cottage or so it seemed from the outside.  But inside this fake fa├žade was once one of the most important government military command centres in the whole of Britain.  It hides a labyrinth of rooms uncased in 10 feet thick reinforced concrete and goes to a depth of 100 feet underground.  It is where military commanders would have run their secret operations in the event of an imminent nuclear attack.  Not even the local villages new about this top secret hideout. This tactical control centre would house over 600 personnel including the prime minister of the time, who was involved in organising a survival plan for the civilian population in the aftermath of a nuclear war.  The bunker is relatively new (1950's)  there has been reported paranormal activity within its walls although there hasn't been any terrible incidents except for one,  it is rumoured that a workman accidentally fell into the 'constantly poured' concrete whilst working, apparently his body was never recovered but his spirit may still be about.

How on earth would we find a secret bunker in the middle of the Essex countryside? Fortunately it was signposted all the way. We took the A128 road past Chipping Ongar, then we drove down this long winding narrow track road past ploughed fields and hedgerows, then I spotted a mast and a 4 minute warning siren, we had reach our destination. We then continued to follow the signs through the woods on foot to the bungalow.  The house looked like a typical brick cottage bungalow, although the large surveillance cameras that were strategically placed on each corner of the roof was a dead give-away to the fact that this was no ordinary cottage.

We needed a permit to take photographs inside but I didn't get one.

We had to use the wands to hear the commentary as we walked round, but they reminded me of 1980's mobile phones, big and heavy! Following the route and punching the numbers in on the wand, we walked round taking in the information.  We seemed to have the whole place to ourselves which was great! The entrance corridor was a little spooky and it had a strange smell to it. We walked around each area with interest and I was intrigued at the technology that was used only 20 years ago, teletext printers, old computers and strange gadgets and devices I'd never seen before, it just reminded me of the 1980's film 'war games'.  Back then this technology would have been state of the art, but now it didn't look at all futuristic.

This bunker was like a concrete tomb, I tried to imagine myself as one of the personnel working in there, it would have been a rotten place to work and live, you hoped that you got along with your co-workers!  The living quarters were very basic, the beds in the dormitories were very close together and you would get out of your warm bed and the next person would climb in after you! Fortunately the cold war bunker wasn't used for its intended purpose.

On the top floor of the bunker we headed into the sick bay, equipped with its own make-shift operating theatre and wards.  On display was a light-box x-ray, next to it was a coffin, body bags and boxes for holding corpses. It was all very interesting and not scary..... We then walked through a narrow room which was a make-shift ward, there was a partitioned off room at the end of it with a TV playing to itself at the other end, we then walked back the way we came.  Then something weird happened, there was an over-whelming feeling of oppression and anxiety and  a feeling like we were been watched, we hadn't felt this way anywhere else in the bunker.  My partner complained that the hairs on the back of his neck were stood up on end and I was really jumpy, at one point I flinched and jumped a mile when a voice came over the tannoy, it was absolutely awful in there and I couldn't wait to get out!

Looking at the coffin and body bag, didn't bother us at all.  I don't know the reason why we were feeling this oppression, I suggested to my partner that it may be because we were directly under the electricity transmitter as the sick bay is on the top floor...maybe some weird EMFs or some odd pressure sensation. As I said at the beginning, I didn't know anything about this location, so wasn't influenced by any previous suggestions regarding paranormal experiences.

This was a particularly interesting and unusual location, I'm sceptical that it's haunted, but there certainly is a strange atmosphere about the place.