Article – Father buys £20,000 Cold War bunker

A father who is so determined that his children do well in their school exams has splashed out £20,000 on a nuclear bunker in the Essex countryside so they can revise in peace.

Raymond Sturgess purchased the bunker, which is 12 feet under ground, so that his four children aged between seven and 16 are free from distractions when it comes to studying.

The Cold War relic, which only measures 13 feet by nine feet in size, was part of a former army base but is now a nature reserve in Chigwell.

A 13’x9’room ain’t a whole lotta space. Matter of fact, its about the size of your typical bedroom.

I’ve seen articles from time to time about tiny little observation bunkers coming up for sale in the UK. Usually they’re rather tiny affairs that don’t amount to much more than this one.

The more I read about military bunkers and shelters, and see what is being done by other countries, I’m becoming less a fan of the underground ones and more a fan of the partially-buried, and the above-ground varieties…especially as done by our friends the Swiss.

Bunkers of this sort don’t come up in the US very often, although I did read about some organization that did a land swap with the feds and wound up owning some awesome NSA-grade bunker facility out in the woods. The closest thing you might find to these Swiss style above-ground concrete bunkers are the old AT&T relay bunkers that dot the countryside. But, thats another post altogether…………

Link – Bunker for sale

A superbly preserved piece of WWII history, an untouched Normandy German Gun Battery has been put for sale.

The huge gun battery and complex at Querqueville / Amfreville (Stp 277) is up for sale – as of this week.

It is well documented and its history is well known as it defended the port of Cherbourg from the hills above the city. Battery York as it was locally known, fought an artillery duel with USS Texas before being over-run after a land battle with the US army.

I would imagine the problem with buying any ‘survival bunker’ that you find on the internet is that, by virtue of being on the internet, everyone knows about it.

While the feasibility of converting such a structure into something more practical and useful may be questionable, these sorts of structures are fascinating to me. I have a book here, Fortress Europe: European Fortifications Of World War II, which is basically a guidebook to some of the more elaborate and complex bunkers scattered across Europe’s battlefields. There’s a lot of concrete under those green hills.

I don’t think I’d necessarily want to live in something like that, but I do see more and more concrete houses that are very attractive, cozy, and still offer the degree of invulnerability that makes them attractive to me.

The fact that many of these flaktowers, bunkers, submarine pens, and whatnot are still in, essentially, undamaged condition after almost 80 years is pretty good testimony to what poured concrete, rebar, and an immense budget can accomplish.

Speaking of concrete, did you know that one of Thomas Edisons less-successful ventures was selling kits and forms to build concrete houses? They even had concrete fixtures in the houses such as bathtubs. The technology has improved since then and there’s actually a local business here that does concrete-log homes….pretty neat. A log home that would be impervious to pretty much everything.

Anyway, while an old WW2 bunker would be nice to play in, I suspect it’s real merit comes from examining it and learning more about how such structures should be built and designed.

Article – Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway

I’ve seen pictures of this place before,  but this is the first article I’ve seen with this much detail. But I admire the kitschy over-the-top attempts to make an underground concrete room look like a green backyard. Then again, isn’t Vegas home of fake Eiffel Towers, Stutes of Liberty, and enormous fake boobs?

The underground house at 3970 Spencer St. was built for comfort, too, with two hot tubs, a sauna and an in-ground pool in a room larger than some houses in the valley.

It was also constructed to withstand a nuclear blast. It had to be. Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who had the home built in 1978, planned to wait out the end of the world inside the structure. Now it’s on the market for $1.7 million, which includes the two-bedroom underground house, the one-bedroom underground guest house, the two-bedroom, two-story caretaker’s house, a four-car garage and more than 1 acre of surface property.

“I’ve been told when he built it, he had a million dollars of marble imported from Italy,” said Winston King of Kingly Properties, which is handling the sale of the house. “It’s here on the fireplace and around the pool now.”

When it was built, the only signs of the house on the surface were an unusual number of ground-mounted air-conditioning units camouflaged by clusters of large rocks. A few larger rocks concealed stairways and an elevator. A caretaker’s house was added later, and the main entrance to the underground house now runs through it.

When visitors reach the ground level, they’re in the front yard of the house looking at the entrance to the 40-foot-by-46-foot room. To the left are the dance floor and the stage. The décor still greatly reflects the original owners’ tastes, from the indoor fountains and waterfalls to the abundance of pink in the kitchen and bathroom.

“They had it all down here,” said King, opening up an artificial rock to reveal an underground outdoor grill. “This vents through the tree behind it.”