What Is Kelvedon Hatch?
Kelvedon Hatch, located in Brentwood, Essex, is a massive Cold War-era subterranean bunker and operations centre.
The secret nuclear bunker is tucked away beneath the unassuming countryside. It was created as a Cold War command station for the British Prime Minster and UK Government officials in case a nuclear war occurred.
There are hundreds of nuclear bunkers across the UK. Still, Kelvedon Hatch is probably the most noteworthy as it had to house the British cabinet and military and civilian personnel, not the public.
The bunker itself has 10 m thick reinforced concrete walls and goes three stories underground. It includes a BBC broadcasting studio, a science lab for radiation monitoring, an operations room, a canteen, dorms and a sick bay. It even had fresh water (through mains and a borehole) and air conditioning to keep residents comfortable.
Today, the bunker is a popular tourist attraction in Essex.
The History Of Kelvedon Hatch
When the Cold War was looming in 1952, and the arm’s race was becoming more frenetic, Britain knew it was time to take action. After developing and testing their own nuclear bomb in October 1952, the UK Government realised the threat of a potential third World War had become a reality.
And with this terrifying knowledge, the construction of Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker began.
The bunker was ideally located just 25 miles from the heart of London – close enough to get to in a pinch.
At first, it was used as a Royal Air Force (RAF) ROTOR station. ROTOR was a project developed by the British government at the start of the 1950s. It was a radar system that was designed to ward off any air-based attacks from the Soviets.
After that, the bunker was briefly a Regional Seat of Government. Then, it was finally converted into the Regional Government Headquarters in Essex.
The nuclear bunker was set to play an important role in the case of a nuclear war. It could house 600 civilian and military personnel, which included UK government officials and the Prime Minister. If the worst fears were realised, Ministry of Defence workers would be housed in the bunker, where they could coordinate the protection of the general population and continue to operate the government.
By 1992, the threat of the Soviets had dissipated, and Europe was geostrategically realigned. As a result, the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker was decommissioned as it was no longer needed.
The land was requisitioned from the Parrish family in Brentwood. The family was allowed to buy back the fields under which the bunker was located, and so they purchased the secret nuclear bunker, too.
Kelvedon Hatch In The Modern Day
The nuclear bunker has become far removed from its nuclear origins. Today, it is a fascinating, privately owned museum focusing on its Cold War history. It is a popular tourist attraction for young and old, walking you through the days of the Cold War.
The bunker is no longer a secret, but an eerie sign outside reminds you how quickly things can change. “Don’t forget, this bunker could still be activated. There are an ever-increasing number of nations with nuclear capability. We suggest you visit us now while you still can.”
Visitors are allowed to explore all three stories, encompassing over 2,500 sq meters. The bunker still has plenty of original Cold War-era equipment, like computers (dating back to the 1980s!), telecommunications and drawing boards.
There is a BBC studio that was going to be used to broadcast to the public. There are also offices, a kitchen, the dormitories and the canteen, where visitors can get snacks.
Hauntings At Kelvedon Hatch
Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker is incredibly spooky thanks to its connections to the looming nuclear war of the 50s.
The unassuming cottage above ground reveals almost nothing about the terrifying spaces that lurk beneath. Ghost hunters have reported apparitions, poltergeists and EVP recordings. Even the staff are hesitant to walk around the bunker alone!
This bunker has been featured on Most Haunted and Great British Ghosts, which just confirms its paranormal inclinations.
One popular ghost story came about during the construction of the bunker. To build the reinforced walls, the bunker required incredible volumes of concrete, which was being poured day and night for weeks on end.
One morning, as workers arrived at the site, they found the foreman’s hat lying on the wet concrete. The foreman was missing and assumed to be buried alive. It is said that the foreman still lurks around the passages of the bunker, mourning his lost life.
While digging up the Parrish family’s land, it is said that an ancient family burial ground was excavated. Although these lost souls are not part of the hauntings at Kelvedon Hatch, we can’t help but wonder what caused one of the workers to fatally fall down the main stairwell during construction.
There is no shortage of poltergeist activity reports, either. Witnesses state that objects are often hurled at visitors. But, when you turn towards the corner where the projectile came from, there is no one there.
Throughout the bunker, people have seen apparitions. Reports range from ghostly military personnel to shadows being cast on walls when no one is around.
During one paranormal investigation, the group had gathered around the generators when, out of nowhere, the generator switched on! Imagine their fright, as not once had these generators ever been used.
There is a lot of activity, especially in the sick bay and the service tunnels. In fact, staff at the museum refuse to walk through the service tunnel by themselves or after dark for fear of the malicious spirits that reside there.
And, of course, there are the noises. Visitors often hear unexplained sounds, footsteps, whispers and voices echoing through the empty chambers.
Are there ghost hunts at Kelvedon Hatch?
You can join Haunted Happenings on an overnight ghost tour of the bunker. These events sell out quickly, so book in advance.
You can also purchase a ticket for the museum and take your own ghost-hunting equipment along. It is said that cold spots are common, so take your thermal camera and make sure to pull out your EVP recorder to catch any of those ghostly whispers.
Is there a bunker tour?
There is no organised tour of the bunker. But you can get a handset (included in your ticket price) and go on a self-guided tour of the bunker. The tour takes about an hour to complete. Make sure to keep an eye out for any ghosts or odd shadows!
The Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker may have never seen the days of war. But it has a fascinating history and was set to play an important part in the country if war ever broke out.
Although no gruesome murders or noteworthy deaths occurred here, there are still plenty of ghostly sightings at Kelvedon Hatch. It might just have to be next on your ghost-hunting agenda.