Bunker is given £1mil­lion boost

Funds to help pre­serve a ‘vi­tal part of our history’

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE his­toric Bat­tle of Bri­tain bunker at Uxbridge is to re­ceive a £1mil­lion re­fur­bish­ment and could switch own­er­ship from the Min­istry of De­fence to Hilling­don Coun­cil.

Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­bourne an­nounced the cash in­jec­tion to pre­serve a ‘vi­tal part of our history’ dur­ing his sum­mer bud­get on Wed­nes­day last week.

The bunker’s oper­a­tions room was the site from which the RAF co­or­di­nated the air de­fence of Lon­don and the South of Eng­land dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, 75 years ago.

Hilling­don Coun­cil is to in­vest a fur­ther £4.5mil­lion for a state-of-theart visi­tor and ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre above the bunker.

Cllr Ray Pud­di­foot, leader of Hilling­don Coun­cil, said: “The Bat­tle of Bri­tain bunker has a spe­cial place in the na­tion’s hearts and it is fit­ting that the Gov­ern­ment has recog­nised this in the Bud­get. The Lon­don Bor­ough of Hilling­don is proud of its close links with the mil­i­tary and we look for­ward to tak­ing own­er­ship of the bunker and see­ing it flour­ish in the years ahead.”

Uxbridge & South Ruis­lip MP, Boris John­son, who cham­pi­oned the cause, said the cash in­jec­tion would help en­sure this “in­cred­i­ble piece of our past is pre­served for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions”.

The bunker was re­stored to its for­mer glory in 1985 us­ing public do­na­tions but now des­per­ately needs ren­o­va­tion fol­low­ing flood dam­age.

Re­tired War­rant Of­fi­cer, Chris Wren MBE, who was sta­tioned at RAF Uxbridge, and has played a vi­tal part in restor­ing it, said: “When there’s a big flood we don’t have the re­sources. It’s all mops and buck­ets and el­bow grease. We’re still re­cov­er­ing from the last flood.”

He added: “When this was built in 1939, no­body en­vis­aged it stay­ing un­til 2015. It’s an im­por­tant vi­tal part of our history.

“It’s where history was made, this is the build­ing that saved Bri­tain in 1940 in my eyes. I want to see this built up for the fu­ture, we’re just pass­ing ships in the night, but I want this to live on for­ever.”

Group Cap­tain Andy Ba­con, sta­tion com­man­der at RAF Northolt, praised the role of the Uxbridge bunker in de­fend­ing the UK dur­ing its “dark­est hour” and said there are sev­eral op­tions for the long term sus­tain­abil­ity, which will be as­sessed by the RAF in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hilling­don Coun­cil.

Photos by Katie Lamb WL154275

HIS­TORIC: Cel­e­brat­ing the news that the Gov­ern­ment is to spend £1 mil­lion ren­o­vat­ing the Bat­tle of Bri­tain Bunker at Uxbridge are Jerry Scan­lon, Steve Pendle­bury, Win­ston Churchill im­per­son­ator Derek Herbert and Bob Jef­feries

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