THE EDITOR’S CHAIR: I wonder who would have been in the Cwmbran bunker?

NULL AND VOID: What lies beneath the now-empty County Hall – and who was on the list to go into the bunker in times of crisis?

BE PREPARED: A well-stocked nuclear shelter from the 1970s

NO ‘COMEDIAN’: Frankie Boyle has lost all sense of dignity

First published in News South Wales Argus: NEW EDITOR: Kevin Ward by

OUR revelations this week that County Hall’s value has been slashed because a nuclear bunker built beneath it needs to be filled in set me thinking.

The existence of a bunker beneath the former home of Gwent County Council, most recently shared by Torfaen and Monmouthshire councils, has been talked about for decades.

The bunker is now described as a ‘void’ beneath the Croesyceiliog building that has to be filled before the land can be sold.

We hope to be able to send some of our journalists into the bunker before it disappears, to let you know what was in the shelter.

Something similar happened at a newspaper I edited in Worcester some years ago.

We gained access to a bunker that would have been used as an emergency communications centre in the event of nuclear war.

The interior of the bunker was absolutely fascinating and its contents belonged to another age, far closer to the Second World War than modern-day Britain.

There are hundreds of such establishments across the country.

Some of them have even been turned into museums.

The threat of nuclear war may be little more than a fading memory for many, but at the height of the Cold War in the late Seventies and early Eighties it was very real.

Perhaps the most illuminating information concerning bunkers would concern who would be in them at the advent of war.

It is information that will no doubt never be revealed.

But I suspect a good idea of your importance during the Cold War would have been whether you were on the bunker list.

I somehow doubt there were many newspaper editors included.

No support for any party intended

LAST week’s column raised the hackles of a number of political types.

For those who found it difficult to read beyond the sentences they disagreed with, let me reiterate that I was not attacking or supporting any political party.

I was expressing a personal opinion about the general perception of politicians and the reasons for it, and using a particular local example to make my point.

It would not have mattered whether it was Tories, Labour, Liberals or any other party staging a protest walkout from a council meeting – I would still have disagreed with it.

It’s important to remind those who criticised last week that this is an opinion column – and as such you have every right to disagree with it.

Frankie Boyle tweet just sickening

SOCIAL media has plenty of faults and is awash with foul-mouthed idiots making inappropriate comments.

It is usually best to ignore the fools and concentrate on the people who use the likes of Facebook and Twitter to its full potential as tools to connect, disseminate and market.

This week, however, I could not ignore a particularly sickening ‘joke’ made by the ‘comedian’ Frankie Boyle about Madeleine McCann.

Quite why anybody continues to employ this man, or buys tickets to see him perform, is beyond me.

He has lost all sense of human dignity.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:15pm Thu 4 Oct 12

James Farror says...

As a historian of the Cold War, I can confidently say that the nuclear bunkers were designed to ensure that a system of government would remain in place in the advent of a nuclear strike. This would then allow a retaliation and recuperation effort to be implemented. So the bunker in County Hall certainly stemmed from such fundamental administrative aims.
As a historian of the Cold War, I can confidently say that the nuclear bunkers were designed to ensure that a system of government would remain in place in the advent of a nuclear strike. This would then allow a retaliation and recuperation effort to be implemented. So the bunker in County Hall certainly stemmed from such fundamental administrative aims. James Farror
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Thu 4 Oct 12

Kevin Ward - Editor says...

Thanks James. I know really - just being a little tongue-in-cheek.
Thanks James. I know really - just being a little tongue-in-cheek. Kevin Ward - Editor
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Thu 4 Oct 12

pandaspot says...

I would to have a look at the bunker, my dad used to be a councillor in the 80's and he often told me there was one under county hall, and one under the civic building in newport. it fascinates me. They should offer people the opportunity to have a look :)
I would to have a look at the bunker, my dad used to be a councillor in the 80's and he often told me there was one under county hall, and one under the civic building in newport. it fascinates me. They should offer people the opportunity to have a look :) pandaspot
  • Score: 0

4:11pm Thu 4 Oct 12

Lenin says...

Probably nothing, remember Gwent was a nuclear free council and the bunker was constructed under protest. Given that ROF Glascoed, the USAF base at Caerwent, the nuclear plant in Cardiff and the River Severn nuclear plants surround the area, any strike against them would have rendered the bunker as much use as a chocolate teapot.
However there were 10,000 cardboard coffins stored in the Archives against disaster.
Probably nothing, remember Gwent was a nuclear free council and the bunker was constructed under protest. Given that ROF Glascoed, the USAF base at Caerwent, the nuclear plant in Cardiff and the River Severn nuclear plants surround the area, any strike against them would have rendered the bunker as much use as a chocolate teapot. However there were 10,000 cardboard coffins stored in the Archives against disaster. Lenin
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Thu 4 Oct 12

pds says...

It's interesting that your "tongue in cheek" views on council preparations for the potential death of millions of people appears on the same page as your "sickened" views on Frankie Boyle and the potetial death of one person. Some people find him funny, some don't. You obviously don't, but that's no excuse for hypocrisy.
It's interesting that your "tongue in cheek" views on council preparations for the potential death of millions of people appears on the same page as your "sickened" views on Frankie Boyle and the potetial death of one person. Some people find him funny, some don't. You obviously don't, but that's no excuse for hypocrisy. pds
  • Score: 0

6:44pm Thu 4 Oct 12

Lucha Libre says...

Well said PDS well said...
Well said PDS well said... Lucha Libre
  • Score: 0

9:25am Fri 5 Oct 12

Katie Re-Registered says...

Probably would have been a handful our 'high up' political leaders and their families and/or latest bit of fluff they happened to be banging about with at the time. I doubt any of us Jo/e Public types would have got a look-in, or anything would have been decided by drawing straws etc. I seem to recall that when 9/11 happened Bush, Blair and a few other political leaders headed straight to bunkers - just in case the world was gonna go up. Leaders get first choice - as it also would have also been in the USSR of that time. That's the way society has been and that's the way it will probably always be, irrespective of whether you're living in dictatorship or democracy.
Probably would have been a handful our 'high up' political leaders and their families and/or latest bit of fluff they happened to be banging about with at the time. I doubt any of us Jo/e Public types would have got a look-in, or anything would have been decided by drawing straws etc. I seem to recall that when 9/11 happened Bush, Blair and a few other political leaders headed straight to bunkers - just in case the world was gonna go up. Leaders get first choice - as it also would have also been in the USSR of that time. That's the way society has been and that's the way it will probably always be, irrespective of whether you're living in dictatorship or democracy. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 0

11:03am Fri 5 Oct 12

The Leg End says...

Well said PDS!

Cat got your tongue Kevin...?
Well said PDS! Cat got your tongue Kevin...? The Leg End
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree