Wartime Scotland: The Ruins of Edinburgh City Control Centre

The abandoned Edinburgh City Control Centre on Buckstone Drive (Image: Bing Maps; Edinburgh City Control Centre)

Go walking around contemporary Britain, and you’re really tracing your steps over two very different landscapes. There’s the landscape of the day-to-day; the kids passing in the streets, the taxi pulling up alongside you, the buildings and vehicles and people of today, here in 2016.

And then there’s the deeper landscape, the landscape of history. Following its contours can lead you to bygone days of protest or murder of misery in secluded, half-forgotten suburbs. It can lead you to grand follies long since built over, stadiums bulldozed into the ground… or it can lead you back through time, to the dark days of the Cold War, in an empty corner of Edinburgh.

Abandoned Edinburgh City Control Centre, a relic of Cold War in Scotland (Image: Google Street View)

The Edinburgh City Control Centre may not look like much today; a small, rundown building squatting amidst a copse of trees. But in historical terms, it’s harder to find anywhere more simultaneously chilling and fascinating. Built in during the Cold War, in 1955, over a disused quarry at the end of Buckstone Grove, it was here that the local Civil Defence Corps hunkered down, watching and listening for the siren that would spell the end of the world.

Between 1948 and 1968, the corps was charged with reorganising Britain in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. Had a bomb detonated in the skies over Edinburgh, the handful of volunteers sheltering in this bunker would’ve emerged with clear instructions to get society up and running again as soon as possible.

Derelict Edinburgh City Control Centre (Image: Bing Maps)

Even after the Civil Defence Corps disbanded, the bunker was kept operational, just in case the Soviet Union made a first strike. It wasn’t abandoned until the collapse of the Soviet Union, and now stands empty, a haunting testament to those troubled times. For its layout and photographs of its trashed Signals room, visit Subterranea Britannica.

Related: 10 Abandoned Nuclear Bunkers, Missile Silos & Ammunition Dumps


About the author: Morris M




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