By David Tingley
It was a sunny afternoon in quiet Cuckfield when I took my first trip underground and into a nuclear bunker. Lovingly restored by Mark Russell over a 12 month period (assisted by Ed Combes) it is now back to its working state as it was shortly before it was officially decommissioned in 1991.
The bunker was part of the Royal Observer Corps and was Post No. 50 of over 1500 originally built in the UK in the 1960s. The nearest other posts were in Brighton and Lewes; Cuckfield completing the local area triangulation.
Once down the vertical ladder visitors can hear the constant beeping of the “4 minute warning system” and see the official paperwork and recordings of the three-man volunteer workforce that were once in place in the village. The government documents on nuclear attack, also on show in the bunker, are both fascinating and very sobering.
Since restoration in 2009, Mark and a small team of volunteers have opened the Cuckfield Nuclear Bunker for a few weekends over the summer. The remaining open dates this year are: 27-28th July, 24-25th August & 28-29th September. Contact can be made for booking your visit via the website www.rocremembered.com or by talking to Phillipa Malins at The Cuckfield Museum.