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Cold War bunker goes on sale in one of Cardiff’s priciest suburbs for £40,000

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An abandoned Cold War bunker, tucked away among period properties in Cardiff, is on the market for a starting price of £40,000.

The unassuming 2,000sq ft brick building in Llandaff – one of the Welsh capital’s priciest suburbs – offers a fascinating glimpse into history behind decades of overgrowth and neglect.

However, the former civil defence control centre will require a lot of work to make it habitable.

The interior is damp, with mouldy walls, and lies strewn with litter – along with long-forgotten furniture including rusting bunk beds.  

The Cardiff Council-owned bunker was built in 1956 to coordinate local operations in the event of an emergency.

It remained operational until the Civil Defence Corps, who were stationed there, were disbanded in 1968.

An abandoned Cold War bunker, tucked away among period properties in Cardiff, is on the market for a starting price of £40,000. The unassuming 2,000sq ft brick building in Llandaff - one of the Welsh capital's priciest suburbs - offers a fascinating glimpse into history behind decades of overgrowth

An abandoned Cold War bunker, tucked away among period properties in Cardiff, is on the market for a starting price of £40,000. The unassuming 2,000sq ft brick building in Llandaff – one of the Welsh capital’s priciest suburbs – offers a fascinating glimpse into history behind decades of overgrowth

The former civil defence control centre will require a lot of work to make it habitable. The interior is damp, with mouldy walls, and lies strewn with litter

The former civil defence control centre will require a lot of work to make it habitable. The interior is damp, with mouldy walls, and lies strewn with litter

The Cardiff Council-owned bunker was built in 1956 to coordinate local operations in the event of an emergency. It remained operational until the Civil Defence Corps, who were stationed there, were disbanded in 1968

The Cardiff Council-owned bunker was built in 1956 to coordinate local operations in the event of an emergency. It remained operational until the Civil Defence Corps, who were stationed there, were disbanded in 1968

When the CDC left, the building was maintained by volunteers until 1984. It then served as the county standby control room and was used for storage until its doors closed for the final time in 1991. (Above, rusting bunk beds in the bunker)

When the CDC left, the building was maintained by volunteers until 1984. It then served as the county standby control room and was used for storage until its doors closed for the final time in 1991. (Above, rusting bunk beds in the bunker)

In 2012, Graham Tatnell spoke of his time as a member of the corps at the building.

He said it could have become a Cold War nerve centre should a ‘World War III’ ever have become a reality.

Mr Tatnell, a former hospital technician, said: ‘I know it was supposed to be for nuclear warfare. But no one would have been any help if there was a bomb dropped. But we did flood relief and Aberfan [1966 mining tragedy] and other disasters.

‘When we finished, the chairman just shut the doors and left, so all the things that we had were left there, including photos.

‘It was sad that the place has deteriorated and it had obviously been vandalised.’

When the corps left in 1968, the building was maintained by volunteers until 1984. It then served as the county standby control room and was used for storage until its doors closed for the final time in 1991.

Author Nick Catford took photographs of the inside of the building in 2003 (including the one seen here). Mr Catford specialises in researching and writing books on the intriguing historic buildings of Britain's past, including bunkers and tunnels as well as trains and railways

Author Nick Catford took photographs of the inside of the building in 2003 (including the one seen here). Mr Catford specialises in researching and writing books on the intriguing historic buildings of Britain’s past, including bunkers and tunnels as well as trains and railways

The rooms of the bunker in the past provided an office, control room, living and sleeping accommodation, referring back to the property's intended use. (Above, how it looked in 2003)

The rooms of the bunker in the past provided an office, control room, living and sleeping accommodation, referring back to the property’s intended use. (Above, how it looked in 2003)

It was reported in 2013 that the local Llandaff Society group were looking into turning the Vaughan Avenue building into a Cold War museum. But the damage caused by vandals and the elements is said to have hampered this suggestion ever becoming a reality

It was reported in 2013 that the local Llandaff Society group were looking into turning the Vaughan Avenue building into a Cold War museum. But the damage caused by vandals and the elements is said to have hampered this suggestion ever becoming a reality

The Civil Defence Corps was a civilian volunteer organisation set up in Britain in 1949 to manage and provide rescue services in areas affected by a major national emergency. As concerns about a possible Soviet attack grew, membership of the CDC expanded to 330,000 by March 1956 - with recruitment continuing into the mid-1960s

The Civil Defence Corps was a civilian volunteer organisation set up in Britain in 1949 to manage and provide rescue services in areas affected by a major national emergency. As concerns about a possible Soviet attack grew, membership of the CDC expanded to 330,000 by March 1956 – with recruitment continuing into the mid-1960s

In 2012, Graham Tatnell spoke of his time as a member of the corps at the building. He said it could have become a Cold War nerve centre should a 'World War III' ever have become a reality

In 2012, Graham Tatnell spoke of his time as a member of the corps at the building. He said it could have become a Cold War nerve centre should a ‘World War III’ ever have become a reality

What was the Civil Defence Corps?

The Civil Defence Corps was a civilian volunteer organisation set up in Britain in 1949 to manage and provide rescue services in areas affected by a major national emergency.

At the time, the main threat was considered to be a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union, which had conducted its first nuclear test in August of that year.

As concerns about a possible Soviet attack grew, membership of the CDC expanded to 330,000 by March 1956 – with recruitment continuing into the mid-1960s.

The corps was stood down in 1968.

However, civil defence planning did remain active within the Home Office’s Civil Defence and Common Services Department. 

Its responsibilities were passed to the F6 Division of the Police Department in 1970, who in turn passed them on to the Fire and Emergency Planning Department in 1984, which became the Emergency Planning Division in July 1989.

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Since then, it has been dormant with just nature, wildlife and the occasional trespasser visiting – some of whom have helped themselves to items that Mr Tatnell remembers were left in the building.

It was reported in 2013 that the local Llandaff Society group were looking into turning the Vaughan Avenue building into a Cold War museum.

But the damage caused by vandals and the elements is said to have hampered this suggestion ever becoming a reality.

Author Nick Catford took photographs of the inside of the building in 2003.

Mr Catford specialises in researching and writing books on the intriguing historic buildings of Britain’s past, including bunkers and tunnels as well as trains and railways.

Describing his visit on subbrit.org.uk, Mr Catford said: ‘There is a store room with Dexion shelving, still stacked with equipment, much of it dating from World War Two.

‘There are a large number of tin helmets, stretchers, gas masks, dustbins, buckets, stacked tables, and a large quantity of small wooden blocks, of unknown use.

He continued: ‘The adjacent room is also a store although it was originally the dormitory with bunk beds still in place along two walls.

‘There’s more furniture here plus respirators and a wheelbarrow. Internally the bunker has changed very little since it was built and feels like a 1950s’ bunker as soon as you walk through the door.’

Some of the documents Mr Catford saw that day, plus items removed at the time of the building’s closure, are believed to have been given to the Glamorgan Archive in Cardiff.

Now the bunker is going to auction at a guide price of £40,000 with Seel & Co.

The auction house describes the property as a single-storey building of brick construction with a flat roof, one door and currently no window openings.

Its rooms in the past provided an office, control room, living and sleeping accommodation, referring back to the property’s intended use.

The auction house selling the bunker says that the building may be suitable for a variety of uses, subject to achieving the necessary planning consent.

Bidding will open at 9am on Tuesday, February 2 and the auction will close in lot order from 5pm, all via the Seel & Co website. 

The auction house selling the bunker says that the building may be suitable for a variety of uses, subject to achieving the necessary planning consent

The auction house selling the bunker says that the building may be suitable for a variety of uses, subject to achieving the necessary planning consent

The bunker is going to auction at a guide price of £40,000 with Seel & Co. The auction house describes the property as a single-storey building of brick construction with a flat roof, one door and currently no window openings

The bunker is going to auction at a guide price of £40,000 with Seel & Co. The auction house describes the property as a single-storey building of brick construction with a flat roof, one door and currently no window openings

This post was first published on DailyMail.

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