As the the most-high profile military bunker in London, the Cabinet War Rooms are a valuable insight into Churchill’s life — and the practicalities of running a government from a bunker.
Constructed in a rush during 1938-9, when it was becoming increasingly obvious that Britain was going to fight a war which could see heavy aerial bombardment of London, the Cabinet War Rooms served as the meeting place for Churchill’s cabinet throughout the war — although the purpose of the building was actually far more extensive.
Comprising of over 12,000 square metres of space, the complex (only a small portion of which is now open to the public) could house 528 staff members, enough to keep government running effectively, and was covered by an enormous slab of concrete one to three metres thick.
Highlights for visitors include the newly-restored quarters for Churchill and his family, the map room (with original maps from the war still on the walls), the communications centre and a 15 metre-long interactive table on which visitors can access information from every year of Churchill’s life, even drilling down to specific weeks and days.
Fact: the War Rooms had a special telephone link to the Whitehouse in Washington, US, which was routed via a scrambler in the basement of the Selfridges department store on Oxford St.
|Cabinet War Rooms|
|Address: Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AQ, UK|
|Admission Price: £14.95/£12
|Opening Times: Open daily 9.30 AM – 6.00 PM