Year 11 History pupils visited a once secret nuclear bunker in Essex

As part of Gresham’s November 2023 STEAM weeks, the History Department took most Year 11 GCSE History pupils on a day trip to visit the once secret nuclear bunker at Kelvedon Hatch in Essex. 

During the visit, the Year 11 historians discovered the threats of nuclear confrontation in the Cold War and the steps that were taken to keep the government going following the outbreak of World War Three. 

The Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker was originally built in the 1950s as part of the RAF’s air defence network, but from the late 1960s until the early 1990s it became the proposed headquarters of Britain’s emergency regional government, should a nuclear conflict occur. It was intended to house 600 personnel for a period of three months.  

Pupils entered the fake bungalow that disguised the true purpose of the site and then ventured down the 91-metre tunnel before exploring the three floors of the hidden bunker system, 38 metres underground. They visited the government communications room, the medical treatment area, and even the radio room from which the British Prime Minister was to have broadcast to the nation following the outbreak of World War Three.