THE WENTWORTH BUNKER


Wentworth is a private estate between Sunningdale and 'Virginia Water, consisting of large isolated houses in extensive grounds surrounding a world class golf course.   The original Wentworth House survives as the clubhouse. Peter Laurie in ‘Beneath the City Streets’ lists Wentworth as 'the site of one of several alternative D-Day bunkers’.

The bunker is to the south of the house, and consists of twin segmental cast iron tubes (evidently taken from London Transport stock) about 100mt long, separated by a smaller diameter access tunnel, which connects via ramps and stairs at one end directly into the clubhouse, and at the other to an isolated escape exit. The whole is protected on the surface by a massive bomb-proof slab with a brick ventilation cowl protruding, now used as a car park.

















Plan, section and site plan of Wentworth bunker


Click for larger


Wentworth was commandeered on the outbreak of war, becoming a military encampment, and from files in the Public Record Office it is evident that the bunker was constructed in anticipation of a devastating bombardment and resulting evacuation of London.  A series of refuges at increasing distances are referred to as being constructed 'to the west' and indeed its layout is identical to that proposed for the combined government/services deep bunker down the length of Whitehall which in the event was never built - each department constructing their own subsurface citadel. By 1941 Wentworth had been earmarked by General Sir Alan Brooke, Commander in Chief Home Forces, as his HQ in the event of an invasion, when in any case he was anxious to distance himself from too much interference by Churchill. In the event this never happened, of course, and Wentworth was used as a signals centre by the 21 Army Group in the lead up to D-Day.

As can be seen from the plan, the orientation virtually due east/west of the bunker seems to make for a very awkward connection to the house - it is difficult to believe that the geology was so restricting. However, central London is 21 miles away to the west.  Could it be that even in 1939 there were fears that Germany had a viable atomic bomb? The bunker would present a minimum profile to the ground shock of such a weapon.

The bunker is in very good condition, albeit with all suspended floors, built in furniture and cabling removed, and the clubhouse have recently unsealed their access to it and allowed the local press to visit.
















The entrance ramp

















The entrance tunnel

















The central tunnel - entrance to two side offices on left.

















An office off the central tunnel, door end. Notice the ventilation duct in the floor with a riser behind the partition to a high level vent.


















An office off the central tunnel, opposite end, with message hatch and scars of fitted desks



Copyright Roger J Morgan 1988


Back