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Barnton Quarry Command Centre

Innocuously located in Barnton Quarry, on the north flank of Corstorphine Hill, the Barnton Quarry Command Centre was built as a secret Operations Room for the RAF Fighter Command at Turnhouse Airfield to the west of Edinburgh. It was extended in 1952 to provide a cold-war Operations Centre for radar early-warning stations across Scotland, including the facility in the East Neuk of Fife which is now open to the public as Scotland's Secret Bunker. However this localised warning system quickly became obsolete as fast and high flying Soviet aircraft were developed and it was replaced by a long-range system controlled from elsewhere. By the early 1960s, the Barnton Quarry facility became a 'Regional Seat of Government' intended to ensure the continuance of government following a nuclear attack. By 1963, the existence of the facility had become an open secret and it was subject to regular demonstrations by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Lothian Regional Council took over the facility in 1984 and sold it to a developer three years later. In 1992 the uppermost level was destroyed by a fire which released dangerous asbestos and made the buildings unusable.

The unobtrusive concrete buildings which extend deep underground in three levels today lie derelict. Part of the site is used as a depot by the City Roads Department, but the site has also been proposed as suitable for a sizeable water storage tank, intended to improve the water supply to the north of Edinburgh.


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