As the outbreak of war became ever more likely at the end of the 1930s, this maze of interlocking rooms and tunnels was ... More
Cabinet War Rooms
As the outbreak of war became ever more likely at the end of the 1930s, this maze of interlocking rooms and tunnels was constructed under civil service buildings close to the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. The purpose was to provide safe haven to government officials in the event of Nazi air raids. Thus, a sick room, dormitories, a refectory and even a shooting gallery were built. Some say that a tunnel was even dug from here to Buckingham Palace so the Royal Family could make their escape if invasion was ever to occur. Winston Churchill held vital cabinet meetings and orchestrated military operations here throughout the war years, and in the Map Room you can trace the actual position of allied forces as they triumphed on VJ Day in 1945. Immaculately preserved, the Cabinet War Rooms convey the claustrophobic and perilous atmosphere of wartime, and give a fascinating insight into the workings of the war machine. The rooms remain closed on the 24th, 25th and 26th of December.
I am an American who was visting London alone (long story) and sort of stumbled across this... I found it facinating. The sense that people of the WWII period might have just walked out of the building was strong. As a lover of history, to wander the halls of the area where so much happened was a profound feeling. (What would the world be like now if those people, who prowled those hallways and little rooms had not given their all to save freedom in the world?)
I really enjoyed the design of the Churchill section as well. There were a class of students (about age 14) there when I was and they seemed pretty enthralled as well. I have to say that I enjoyed this more than a lot of things that I did in London...
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