Parliament Debates Bunker
A recent debate held in the Scottish Parliament, on the 20th Anniversary celebrations of Scotland’s Secret Bunker, has praised the Fife tourism attraction for serving as a valuable reminder that, not so long ago, the world balanced precariously close to nuclear disaster and was eminently prepared for the onset of nuclear war.
“The Cold War isn’t thawing”. While Nixon’s chilling words are possibly as relevant to the world today, as they were fifty years ago, Scotland’s Parliamentarians have clearly outlined that a visit to Scotland’s Secret Bunker allows visitors to experience the reality of what life could have been like if the worst had actually happened during the Cold War era.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker, a Cold War nuclear command centre, celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. Originally built by the Ministry of Defence (and kept hidden by the few locals in the know) in the early 1950s as an RAF Operations Room, was secretly set up as the regional headquarters for Scotland in the event of a nuclear attack and would have housed up to 300 personnel tasked with operation command of the country should the worst have happened.
After undergoing an extensive restoration programme during the winter months, the 20th Anniversary of the opening of the 3-tonne blast doors to the public, is marked by newly opened and never-seen before areas sure to be a hit with returning visitors to the Cold War Museum.
During the debate in Parliament, Murdo Fraser, MSP Mid Scotland and Fife commented:
“Fife has many historic attractions but nothing quite like the Secret Bunker. Inside it, history comes alive and visitors are offered a distinctive insight into the macabre world that was the Cold War. The bunker has huge importance to Fife’s culture, economy and education and I join others in wishing it success for the next 20 years.”
Roderick Campbell, MSP North East Fife also commented:
“Artefacts such as Scotland’s Secret Bunker serve as a valuable reminder that the world balanced precariously close to nuclear disaster and that it was prepared for nuclear war. Mercifully, it was never used for its intended purpose.”
After being decommissioned in the late 1980s following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of nuclear threat, the Bunker was removed from the Official Secrets List in 1993 and after being sold as a private farmhouse (with rather large cellar), opened to the public in 1994. Scotland’s Secret Bunker is now one of Fife’s major tourist attractions welcoming tens of thousands of visitors through its blast doors every year.
One room which has been extensively remodelled was the British Telecom equipment room where never-seen before areas have now been revealed, allowing Cold War (and, indeed, telecoms) enthusiasts to see the specialist communications equipment which were in operation to distribute the 2800 phone lines connected to the bunker, and which would have been the main line of communication with the outside world in the event of a nuclear attack on Scotland.
James Mitchell, Managing Director of Scotland’s Secret Bunker commented:
“We are really excited about this year, having completed a programme of refurbishments during the winter months. So far, we have had a great response to our 20th Anniversary celebrations, notably the recent debate at Scottish Parliament which was secured by our local MSP, Roderick Campbell. We love getting feedback from our visitors and to get such positive support from Parliament is great encouragement to continue for another 20 years.”
“We’re also very excited about being able to extend and show off areas of the bunker that may have never been seen before. Since the bunker only opened to the public 20 years ago, people are amazed at just how recent and real the threat was, and just how prepared we were.”
The Secret Bunker has today unveiled a new photo exhibition celebrating 65 years of the nearby Leuchars Airshow, almost three years to the day since the Red Arrows last flew over the Fife coast.
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