We climb up onto the hatch, and descend down the ladder. When standing at the bottom of the ladder the monitoring room is to your left, the chemical toilet cubicle is behind you, and beneath your feet is a sump. Some posts were accidentally constructed ‘backwards’. In these posts the monitoring room would be to your right. These post are know as ‘mirror’ posts and were constructed like so accidentally due to local sub-contractors reading the plans wrong!
The following photos are of a restored post, Cuckfield 50 post, derelict posts are nothing like this! Click on each photo to enlarge it.
First the toilet cubicle behind you, this was equipped with an ‘Elsan’ chemical toilet. It was also were the post crew stored spare consumables, rope, and heavy tools such as a pickaxe, spade and crowbar. It was also were the Petrol generator was stored.
Now, onto the monitoring room.This was were the crew would spend most of their time. it was equipped with a pair of bunks (originally 3 – this number was reduced in 1968), large and small, wall mounted, folding tables, chairs, a cupboard and various wall mounted pieces of equipment. It was not uncommon for crews to install their own ‘creature comforts’ to make life on the post more bearable. Its worth noting the posts had no mains plumbing or drainage, hence the chemical toilets. Drinking water was stored in ‘Jerry cans’.
Mounted near the main table is the Bomb Power Indicator (BPI). This is an analogue device that measures the over-pressure blast wave of the bomb and presents it as a figure that can be reported back to HQ. Also near the main table and above the cupboard is the mounting place for the VHF radio fitted to master posts.
On the left hand side of the tables are the mountings for the communications board that brought in the incoming British Telecom wires for the loudspeaker telephone, and the signal for the automated warning system. Underneath this on the floor is the pump up handle for the telescopic aerial for the radio. If the aerial pump picture is yours please contact us so we can credit it, we cant remember where it came from!!
Other items found around the monitoring room are shown below
In addition, the syren crate is often left underground as it is very hard to remove up the shaft.
The next photo is a close up of the main table, it shows the blue and yellow loudspeaker telephone (BT Teletalk AD8010) which was used as the primary method of communications. It worked on an ‘open’ circuit so the post crew could hear what was going on elsewhere in their area. It had a Push-To-Talk function to make communications back to HQ simple and reliable. Shown below it is the orange Fixed Survey Meter (FSM). This item displays information directly from the radiation detecting head on the surface to inform the crew of the amount of contamination. The grey box and pen to the right are personal radiation measuring instruments to track individual crew members exposure to radiation, the grey box resets the Dosimeter pen.
Other items that can be found in the posts include, bins, jerry cans for water, 12v lead acid batteries, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) protection sets, wellington boots, photographic paper for the GZI, toilet paper, mattresses for the beds, 1.5v ‘D’ cell batteries for the FSM, torches, candles, kettles and solid fuel cookers, splints and stretchers. These have not been included here for the simple reason we keep forgetting to photograph them……
Lets just have a look up the shaft on our way out, mind your head on the hatch counterweight!