Burlington: The Central Government Emergency War Headquarters at Corsham

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For fifty years the bunker now known as ‘Burlington’ was the most secret
place in Britain.

In the early 1950s it was felt that an alternative seat of government should
be available in case London become untenable in the event of a nuclear war.
In 1954 the scheme was approved and construction work began. The bunker at
Corsham in north-west Wiltshire would be the size of a small town and
accommodate over 4,000 ministers and civil servants including the Prime
Minister and War Cabinet, the Chiefs of Staff, the Ministry of Defence and
Joint Intelligence Committee as well as all the other military and civil
government departments such as the Air Ministry, Foreign Office, Home Office
and so on, required both to prosecute the war and oversee post-attack civil
reconstruction. It would have a power station, water works, sewage works, a
telephone exchange, ventilating systems, and catering facilities allowing it
to operate in a closed down condition for up to ninety days.

The bunker had a number of code-names during its life time – Subterfuge,
Stockwell, Burlington, Turnstile, Chanticleer and Peripheral, but
‘Burlington’ is the name that it is remembered by.

This book tells the fascinating story of ‘Burlington’ from its inception in
the early 1950s until 2004 when the site was finally declassified. It is a
large-format volume and contains approximately 400 colour photographs, maps
and plans accompanied by comprehensive captions and an authoritative text.
Nick Catford was granted unprecedented access to this highly sensitive site
in order to compile the collection of images reproduced in this book.

By Nick Catford (30 July 2012)