Bunker is given £1million boost
Funds to help preserve a ‘vital part of our history’
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.
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