The first military use of the area was in World War II, when a Starfish site was established at Hack Green. Its purpose was to confuse Luftwaffe bombers looking for the vital railway junction at Crewe.
A Ground-controlled interception (GCI) radar station was added.
In the 1950s, the site was modernised as part of the ROTOR project. This included the provision of a substantial semi-sunk reinforced concrete bunker or blockhouse (type R6).
The station, officially designated RAF Hack Green, was also known as Mersey Radar. It provided an air traffic control service to military aircraft crossing civil airspace.
The site was abandoned and remained derelict for many years, until the Home Office took it over. They rebuilt the R6 bunker as a Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQs) - one of a network of 17 such sites throughout the UK - designed to enable government to continue in the aftermath of a major nuclear attack on the UK.
In about 1992, following the end of the Cold War, the Home Office abandoned its network of RGHQs and sold many of the sites. This one was bought by a private company and subsequently opened to the public in 1998 as a museum with a Cold War theme.
The bunker is open to the public most of the year. It has a substantial collection of military and Cold War memorabilia, including one of the largest collections of decommissioned nuclear weapons in the world. It also houses Ballistic Missile Early Warning System equipment originally from RAF High Wycombe.
The museum includes information about the function of the bunker during the Cold War. There is a simulator designed to simulate conditions in the bunker during a nuclear attack. Visitors can watch the BBC film The War Game, produced to inform the public of what would be likely to happen in a nuclear attack on Britain. Younger visitors to the museum can navigate the rooms in a game to find the "Cold War Spy Mice" (a large number of toy mice positioned in numerous rooms), which avoids the more disturbing aspects of the bunker, such as the medical room, where a mannequin is depicted with symptoms of burns and radiation poisoning; the objective being to locate as many mice as possible and return their report to the desk for a prize. If all of the missiles at Hack Green were armed, the base alone would be the 7th biggest Nuclear Power in the world.
Hack Green was featured in the British television series Most Haunted: Midsummer Murders episode two in which the team investigates the murder of a soldier. It featured once again in Series 10.
- Central Government War Headquarters
- Civil Contingencies Secretariat
- RAF Rudloe Manor
- Corsham Computer Centre
- Continuity of government
- Wartime Broadcasting Service
- Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker
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