RAF Bentley Priory Bunker

RAF Bentley Priory was a non-flying Royal Air Force station near Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow.

It became famous as the headquarters of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and the Second World War. The RAF Bentley Priory site includes a Grade II* listed Officers’ Mess and Italian Gardens. These, together with the park are designated a Registered Garden Grade II.

A bunker was built in 1939 to protect the vital work being carried out at from attack.

Most of the bunker is below ground and has now been filled in. However, the entrance is still visible. The entrance is on the ground level of a two storey façade, which is constructed from grey concrete, with a vertical corrugated appearance.

The importance of the ‘Dowding System’ at RAF Bentley Priory was soon realised, and the Filter Room and Operations Room were moved into the bunker in 1940, a few months before the Battle of Britain commenced. The original criteria for the bunker outlined that it should be able to withstand a direct hit by a 500lb bomb or a 250lb semi-armour-piercing bomb. Excavation averaged over 12 metres in depth, with 58,270 tons of earth moved to build the bunker.

After the Second World War, the bunker was altered and developed. In the 1980s it was further adapted to be able to withstand a nuclear blast.

“English Heritage decided not to list the bunker and has noted that there are better examples of Cold War bunkers in the UK which should be retained.”

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