York’s nuclear bunker gets the Google treatment – with awesome 360° pix

Once a well-guarded secret, the Cold War Bunker in York is now being showcased around the world thanks to state-of-the-art technology.

You can see the special pages here and here

Google has teamed up with English Heritage to bring the Acomb bunker to life for an international audience.

Now anyone with an internet connection can see stunning 360° images showing every detail of the underground safehouse.

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The imagery, captured by Google Street View cameras, includes the map where officials would have charted the fallout had a nuclear weapon been detonated in the north of England.

You can even zoom in on the bunks where the military officials selected to man the bunker would have slept.

Analysing atomic fallout

Mapping the fallout… another shot from the Google site

Google has also put together an online pictorial history of the bunker, Preparing For Nuclear War 1961-1991.

It tells how the building – the Group Headquarters of Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Branch 20 – was built in 1961.

Its function was to identify and record nuclear explosions, plot their location and power and measure ensuing radiation levels.

Sixty volunteers from the ROC were to man it at times of crisis, along with a team of scientific advisers from the UK Home Office.

The building was closed in 1991 but retained many of original fixtures and fittings. After a period of conservation, the site was opened for public tours in 2006.

Power of technology

The exterior of the bunker. Photograph: Richard McDougall

The bunker imagery is one of a series of historic sites promoted by Google Arts & Culture as part of a new partnership with English Heritage. Others include Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, and Kenwood House, London.

Matt Thompson, head of collections at English Heritage, said: “In our new role as a charity, English Heritage is looking for innovative ways to open our sites to the public and share their fascinating stories with them.

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“Now thanks to Google Arts & Culture’s technology, we’ve been able to bring people closer to our historic masterpieces than ever before, open up our storehouses to a global audience, and showcase hitherto unseen artefacts.”

Amit Sood, director of Google Arts & Culture, said: “English Heritage has done such an amazing job in preserving iconic art and sites, allowing us a glimpse into what life was like in a different time.

“Google Arts & Culture are proud to partner with English Heritage and use the power of technology to share these wonders and stories with a global audience.”