Written May 1, 2023, at Nantwich on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Our 6 mile and 6 lock passage to Nantwich today took more than six hours instead of the anticipated three or four.

The delay was not occasioned by difficulties with the locks, difficulties with navigation, or foul weather. Instead, it was a self-imposed delay brought about by the opportunity to tour an unusual remnant from the Cold War.

A sign under a canal bridges in the rural countryside announced that 200 yards from the canal was the once top secret Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, now open to the public. We immediately tied up to shore and set off on foot to explore.

Declassified in 1993 this 35,000 square-foot underground complex was one of 17 such hardened nuclear bunkers in the UK which would serve the needs of continuing government and military operations in the event of nuclear war.

This facility was provisioned with food, water, fuel, and life-support necessities to supply the needs of 160 essential personnel for over three months.

Now a museum, the bunker offers the public a glimpse into Great Britain’s preparations for nuclear Armageddon.

This is the heart of the life support system which includes 15,000 gallons of drinking water.
The infirmary.
This is a small BBC broadcast center in the Bunker.

Within the underground complex are actual radar and communications equipment from that era. There are even decommissioned nuclear weapons.

A decommissioned 400 kt nuclear bomb.

Most chilling was the 45 minute long 1966 BBC docudrama, “The War Game”. Post-production it was deemed too graphic to be broadcast to the general public.

It received a limited screening at the National Film Theater in London, and went on to receive the 1967 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

I sat through the entire movie which drew from the experiences of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Dresden in depicting the physical and psychological consequences of nuclear attack. The black and white movie was brutally stark and unsanitized.

One take from the movie: Great Britain has the largest concentration of nuclear targets in the world. Between 1/3 and 1/2 of its population would be dead within the first few days of attack.

(Pray for) Peace Everyone. Pete

PS. On the heels of yesterday’s report on Christine’s “lock marathon” I thought I would share a couple of images to illustrate what she chooses to struggle with instead of piloting the canal boat.

8 thoughts on “The Hack Green Nuclear Bunker

  1. It’s amazing how, with minimal maintenance, the system is working effectively today. The simplicity and sturdiness that was engineered hundreds of years ago along with the extra effort of the architectural design makes looking at your pictures, while riding your coattails on this latest adventure, a daily gift that I’m going to sorely miss as your trip comes to an end.
    Peace to you Pete.

    • I agree, Bill. What’s more, the canals were surveyed with a consistent positive flow of about 1/2 mph. This avoids stagnancy. All done with instruments from the 18th century.

  2. Laura Gust says:

    Your pictures of the nuclear facility bring back a feeling of dread experienced during that time. At least you got a hike in for the day. I liked seeing Chris’s pictures.

  3. Well hey – I am a day late (and always a dollar short)!! Interesting post yesterday – the nuclear facility and YES Pray for Peace!! I am telling you Pete after shoving all these locks hither and thither and round about – she is one to not be messed with!! Though I have to agree with her – I would rather work the locks than try to navigate such a fine looking boat through such a teeny lil space! Hugs

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