Speaking with ShadowsSpeaking with Shadows

Vigilant State – York Cold War Bunker and the Royal Observer Corps

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Josie Long visits York Cold War Bunker, one of over 1,500 bunkers and monitoring posts across the UK that were in operation during the Cold War, and the only example which still exists without alterations today. 

But perhaps the most interesting thing about the bunker are the people who worked there. Here, the Royal Observer Corps (ROC), mainly civilian volunteers, were trained to receive, record, and relay vital information on nuclear fallout in the event of a real nuclear attack on Britain. 

Josie meets English Heritage curator, Kevin Booth to find out more about the bunker’s history and its role during the Cold War.

We hear from Grace Huxford, a senior lecturer in modern history at the University of Bristol, on the history of the Cold War and the social and political context in Britain at the time when the ROC were training in the bunker.

Josie also meets Ann Metcalf, a member of the ROC for 27 years who worked at the bunker in York. We hear about her first-hand account of what it was like to train in the bunker, her experience of Cold War Britain, and how it felt to have such a unique and important role, should the very worst have happened.

Speaking with Shadows is an English Heritage podcast.

You can find out more on these stories by going to http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/speakingwithshadows or head to the English Heritage website to find out how you can visit the York Cold War Bunker.

And if you think this story should be heard, share this podcast on your social media with the hashtag #speakingwithshadows.

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