Cold War bunker in Edinburgh to be opened to the public as plans to transform the 1950s shelter approved


A Cold War bunker in Edinburgh will soon be opened to the public after plans to transform the 1950s abandoned shelter were approved.

Buried 100ft below Corstorphine Hill in Edinburgh, it was Scotland’s first line of defense against the threat of a nuclear attack.

Thankfully, the possibility of a Russian ambush between 1946 and 1982 never materialized and it was not used for that purpose.

It sits behind 10ft of reinforced concrete and tank-metal blast doors under the Barnton Quarry, Edinburgh Live reports.



It sits behind 10ft of reinforced concrete and tank-metal blast doors under the Barnton Quarry

It has been out of use for nearly 40 years, but revised plans to turn it into a visitor attraction have been accepted, with locals and tourists being given the chance to experience the chilling reality that many in Ukraine will be feeling right now.

The Category-A listed site also served as the RAF’s operations command center for all of Scotland’s radar stations, scanning the skies for potential threats and gathering data from across the country. The nuclear bunker element was added ten years after this, in 1952.

The bunker later became extremely dilapidated, having been stripped of all its original contents. It was repeatedly vandalized and used as an illegal dumping ground by fly-tippers – before suffering extensive fire damage from incidents in 1991 and again in 1993.

However, the structure and fabric of the historic base remained intact and it is thought to be the only bunker of its kind still in its original format anywhere in the world.

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It is thought to be the only bunker of its kind still in its original format anywhere in the world
It is thought to be the only bunker of its kind still in its original format anywhere in the world

Since 2011, a group of local volunteers have worked tirelessly to restore the vaults back to how they were whilst in operation during the Cold War, with the aim of turning the bunker into a museum and creating conference facilities in the the above-level building.

And those hoping to pay a visit might not have to wait too much longer – after planning permission for a change of use, refurbishment and upgrading of the nuclear bunker was granted by the City of Edinburgh Council on Monday, February 14.

Submitted in August, the application sought approval to make the site at 35 Clermiston Road North a ‘visitor attraction and meeting/conference facility’.

Plans state: “The gradual refurbishment has been ongoing for over a decade, working gradually with the involvement of the local community to put right the fire ravaged shell and reinstate the interior authentically.

“The vandalism that preceded Scotcrown’s acquisition of this unique slice of Edinburgh’s more recent history is well on the way to being rectified – this proposal seeks to secure a viable future to ensure that good work is built upon and the complex maintained for the benefit and interest of future generations.”

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www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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