Scotland's Secret Bunker: Cold War-intended seat of government
An innocent Scottish farmhouse hides the entrance to RAF Troywood, a Cold War nuclear bunker 100ft underground. Had there been a nuclear war, Scotland would have been governed from here. Since being decommissioned, it can now be visited by the public.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker near St. Andrews, Fife, was designed as 24,000 square feet of nuclear-resistant accommodation, including dormitory, plotting rooms, broadcasting studio, chapel, Nuclear Command Control Centre, armoury, and mess.
The Bunker was part of the ROTOR system of bunkers around the UK, the first one being designed in 1949. The ROTOR project was an enormous effort to update Britain’s radar cover after WW2. It consisted of many sites with huge underground bunkers to withstand conventional bombing. Many of these were taken over when they became obsolete in their radar role, as refuges for local governments during the Cold War.
Kept secret for over 40 years, the St Andrews bunker is split into two levels, each the size of two football pitches, one stacked on top of another.
In the years around 1970, when the Cold War and the risk of a nuclear incident, was still dominating consideration. The bunker was refurbished and rebuilt on a larger scale. Its role now was to be the main seat of government in Scotland in the event of a nuclear conflict. Most of what can be seen today dates back to this period. Accommodation included dormitories for the 300 people it would take to man the bunker, and send messages to people in the event of a war.
The bunker remained ready for use in this role until 1992. It was opened to the public in 1994 as a historic location and museum of cold war artefacts. There is also a collection of military vehicles from around the world and the UK’s only Russian anti-aircraft missile.
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