For much of the twentieth century Britain was faced with the possibility of a devastating attack from the air. First, from the 1930s by Nazi Germany and then as the Cold War developed momentum by the Soviet Union, the weapons growing from simple high explosive bombs to city-killing ‘hydrogen bombs’. While the basic task of looking after the casualties from these attacks was left to the local councils, the British government made plans to ensure that a central government would be able to survive, and continue to function during and after the attacks.

This ‘’ describes these plans and their evolution, from the simple ideas at the start of the Second World War through the Cold War to the famed Central Government War Headquarters at Corsham near Bath in the west of England and its changing role. For convenience it is divided into 4 parts which can be accessed from the menu above or directly:

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