The Old Nuclear Bunker Now Staffed by Mannequins

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
July 28 2014 12:27 PM

The Old Nuclear Bunker Now Staffed by Mannequins

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

To gain access to the secret nuclear bunker at Kelvedon Hatch in Essex, England, just follow the road signs marked "Secret Nuclear Bunker."

Security at the decommissioned subterranean shelter has gotten a lot more lax since the Cold War days, but the bunker retains its eerie, apocalyptic feel. Built in 1953 to stealthily house hundreds of military and civilian personnel in the event of nuclear attack, the Kelvedon Hatch bunker is accessed through an ordinary-looking bungalow in the woods.

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Conditions were relatively comfortable: VIPs tasked with running a nuked nation could do so with the help of air conditioning and heating, a self-contained water supply, generators, radio equipment, and protected telecommunications systems.

Of course, the bunker was never used for its intended purpose. The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the nuclear threat, rendering the Kelvedon Hatch hide-out obsolete. It is now a museum, its corridors full of dusty old telephones, geiger counters, and maps. A few rooms feature an unusual sight: battered shop mannequins in cheap wigs, posed in typical bunker scenarios such as resting and performing minor surgery.


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