New BBC archive footage shows us that this stately home in South Yorkshire is currently home to a very peculiar artefact. Taking us inside Cusworth Hall, which sits just outside of Doncaster, the Nationwide footage from 1982 reveals that a nuclear bunker resides below the grand building.
The bunker is a relic from the Cold War and was intended to harbour 80 chosen officials in the events of a nuclear attack. The selected committee were expected to represent South Yorkshire in the fallout of the event. Whilst the bunker was kept secret from the public for over two decades, the footage takes us on a tour of the archaic idea of protection from a nuclear blast.
As the reporter, Pattie Coldwell, informs us, the visit to the base is to demonstrate that “if the bomb was dropped tomorrow, this bunker would be completely useless”. As the camera takes us round the bunker, we see a series of telephones, desks, maps and papers, and the footage is more reminiscent of the set of a film rather than a genuine bunker.
Cusworth Hall is still a tourist attraction in South Yorkshire today, and people can visit the museum to see what life has been like for residents of Doncaster through the ages (pandemic not permitting). Unfortunately, however, the bunker is not currently open for public access.
The footage is part of the BBC’s archive project which will show content produced in and around Yorkshire over the past decades. The short clips will contain footage demonstrating significant points in Yorkshire’s history.
You can check out the clip below and make sure to keep an eye out for more archive footage to follow.