Barnton Quarry Restoration Project

Barnton Quarry Restoration Project Facebook landing site for the Barnton Quarry Restoration Project. Read all about our project at: http://www.barntonquarry.org.uk/ Follow us on Twitter! @BarntonQuarry
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RAF Barnton Quarry, 4 miles from the city centre of Edinburgh and buried deep under Corstorphine Hill, has a long association with the RAF which dates back to the formation of the 3603 Fighter Control Unit of the famous 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron during WWII. After WWII, the UK government identified Russia as a key threat to national security and the deep bunker at Barnton Quarry was built in 1952 as the response to that threat. Operating as the Sector Operations Centre for co-ordinating RAF fighter response to UK airspace intrusion, the staff at RAF Barnton Quarry protected Scotland from attack by Russian long-range nuclear bombers up until around 1960. The theme was very much command and control, with radar sites stretching from the very north of Scotland right down to Northumberland (including our other bunker/museum, Scotland’s Secret Bunker, RAF Troywood near Anstruther) reporting radar contacts to Barnton Quarry via dedicated telephone lines, where the information was triangulated and subsequently plotted on huge map tables for RAF fighter commanders to view and make decisions regarding the fighter response. The scale of the RAF operation here was astonishing; the central operations well is vast and exists over three floors deep underground. The bunker was specifically designed to withstand Russian attack. It's buried 100ft underground with walls of 10ft thick reinforced concrete, tank-metal blast doors, generators and a complex air conditioning and filtration system. The site is of great historical importance as it is the only surviving example of this type of bunker in the UK which retains the original RAF three-level operations room. Sadly, the bunker has been neglected for many years and has suffered theft and fire damage. We plan to restore it exactly as it was under the RAF in 1952 and open the site as a museum so that visitors can experience it first-hand for themselves. Our vision is to lever interactive technology to create rotating exhibits, all relevant to the teaching of RAF and Cold War history. The space we have on the site is huge, hence we plan reserve a chunk of our display space to invite guest exhibitors to display with the objective of providing new and interesting display topics for returning visitors. Addiitonally, we’re planning to create dedicated permanent displays to preserve the history of 603 squadron in the bunker which was home to the FCU! We've been working hard for the past two years to recover the site. The project is going well; the next phase is to take the buildings back to the shell and restore from scratch. We're making great progress, but there is still a long way to go! Volunteers are the lifeblood of what we're doing and we're very keen for volunteers to get involved in the project. Any help is appreciated! Contact [email protected] for further details.

Operating as usual

Using radar information to monitor the North Sea approaches to the UK and coordinate fighter response, the function prov...
21/08/2020

Using radar information to monitor the North Sea approaches to the UK and coordinate fighter response, the function provided at RAF Barnton Quarry was critical to national security.

RAF police secured the site and carried out 24h watch until the middle of the 1950s. Teams of RAF policemen and Alsatian guard dogs were based in the guard room at the top of the access tunnel to the R4 bunker. Visitors to the Sector Operations Centre would be held in a caged area while ID was checked, before being admitted to the bunker.

These photos were taken in 1984 when the site was being used by Lothian Regional Council as the local Emergency Planning Centre. #barntonquarry #rafpolice

The ROTOR R6 bunker museum at Hack Green in Cheshire re-opens to the public! The R6 was the RAF Ground Controlled Interc...
05/07/2020

The ROTOR R6 bunker museum at Hack Green in Cheshire re-opens to the public!

The R6 was the RAF Ground Controlled Intercept bunker design for the west coast - virtually identical in layout to the R3 GCI bunkers (Scotland’s Secret Bunker et al.) on the east coast.

The primary differentiation is that the R6 bunkers are semi-sunken while the R3 bunkers are fully subterranean, reflecting the Air Ministry response to the elevated threat from Soviet attack on the east coast. #barntonquarry #hackgreen

We’re open! 🎉 Goulash and Pam are looking forward to seeing all our visitors after the longest period of closure for 23 years.

Our sister bunker in Fife is re-opening again on 15th July! An opportunity to experience a different type of lockdown...
29/06/2020

Our sister bunker in Fife is re-opening again on 15th July! An opportunity to experience a different type of lockdown...

Looking forward to reopening again!

Hello and welcome to all our new followers and thanks for all the messages of support on the back of our recent planning...
04/06/2020

Hello and welcome to all our new followers and thanks for all the messages of support on the back of our recent planning application for the museum!

Here's a photo from 1952, taken during the construction of the R4 bunker at Barnton Quarry. Taken covertly by one of the RAF Police dog handlers as cameras were strictly prohibited due to the sensitive nature of RAF operations! #barntonquarry

Hello and welcome to all our new followers and thanks for all the messages of support on the back of our recent planning...
04/06/2020

Hello and welcome to all our new followers and thanks for all the messages of support on the back of our recent planning application for the museum!

Here's a photo from 1952, taken during the construction of the R4 bunker at Barnton Quarry. Taken covertly by one of the RAF Police dog handlers as cameras were strictly prohibited due to the sensitive nature of RAF operations. #barntonquarry

Subterranea magazine from Sub Brit covering our big plans! #barntonquarry #subbrit
26/05/2020

Subterranea magazine from Sub Brit covering our big plans! #barntonquarry #subbrit

Subterranea magazine from Sub Brit covering our big plans! #barntonquarry #subbrit
21/05/2020

Subterranea magazine from Sub Brit covering our big plans! #barntonquarry #subbrit

There were four R4 bunkers built as Sector Operations Centres for the RAF during the early 1950s - Barnton Quarry, Shipt...
06/05/2020

There were four R4 bunkers built as Sector Operations Centres for the RAF during the early 1950s - Barnton Quarry, Shipton, Kelvedon Hatch and Bawburgh.

In parallel, a fifth R4 structure was quietly built at the Radar Research Establishment at Malvern in Worcester to facilitate research and development of radar systems and processes.

The fifth R4 structure was known as 'H building' and it was built on the surface to provide an operations room with exactly the same dimensions as the operations rooms of the four R4 bunkers.

The site was used to develop the systems and processes for the UK radar defence programmes: ROTOR, Plan Ahead and Linesman/Mediator.

Furthermore, the work carried out by the brilliant engineering minds on the site delivered pioneering systems for radar, including systems for plot projection, data management/storage and communications.

The development which took place here secured the UK skies from then until now and led to the pioneering development of radar systems for both civilian and military purposes. Indeed, many of the key elements of the systems which enable worldwide air traffic control today were conceived in this building.

Amazingly, the world’s first touch screen was developed by RRE teams in H building as early as 1966 with a view to using it for radar control purposes - such was the tremendous vision and capability of the systems engineers which worked there.

Which is why it is incredibly sad that the whole RRE site (including H building) is currently being torn down to allow a housing estate to be built. Our friends have worked tirelessly to have key elements of the site protected, but our recent engineering heritage is unfortunately undervalued by many.

Aerial photography by Martyn Jones. A respectful nod to our friends at the Malvern Radar and Technology History Society, without whose work to preserve our recent engineering heritage, this historical site would be but a memory.

#barntonquarry #mraths #rotor

Between 1950 and 1952, 38 bunkers were built throughout the UK to house the ROTOR radar defence programme. Like Barnton ...
21/04/2020
RAF Wartling ROTOR bunker – a decade of progress

Between 1950 and 1952, 38 bunkers were built throughout the UK to house the ROTOR radar defence programme. Like Barnton Quarry, many of the original sites have suffered dereliction.

But thankfully, there are volunteer teams working to preserve and restore our national history. The R3 bunker at Wartling in Sussex is a great example. Our friends there have pumped 2.5M litres of water out of the bunker and have been working for more than ten years to halt the decay of this impressive structure. Check out their latest photos! #wartling #rotor #barntonquarry #preservation

https://thetimechamber.co.uk/beta/blog/raf-wartling-rotor-bunker-a-decade-of-progress

After nearly a decades worth of volunteering work at the R3 ROTOR bunker at RAF Wartling the summer of 2019 saw a key milestone reached; English heritage deemed the site safe enough to run a serie…

17/04/2020
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker

Our friends at the former ROTOR R6 bunker at Hack Green demonstrating their fabulous generators! #hackgreen #barntonquarry #rotor

Here's our first room tour video, this time Rodney Siebert (our Museum Founder) shows you round our working generator room and control room. Get ready for some ASMR generator sounds, a funny anecdote and a real behind-the-scenes tour. #MuseumFromHome

As a reminder, all of our videos are also available on our YouTube channel. All of our YouTube videos have proper subtitles that we have written ourselves, we can't do that on Facebook. So, if you need subtitles or want to subscribe that's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWlhdQDac20

Big day for Barnton Quarry today! We've submitted our formal planning application to establish permission to open the si...
11/03/2020
Edinburgh nuclear bunker could become visitor attraction for more than 100,000 people after plans submitted

Big day for Barnton Quarry today! We've submitted our formal planning application to establish permission to open the site to the public as a museum and STEM education centre.

The ultimate success of the project, underpinned by many thousands of hours of effort by our volunteers to restore and preserve this unique site of national historical importance, hinges on the success of this one planning application.

Our fingers are crossed and we hope that the planning decision makers share our exciting vision! Let us know your thoughts in the comments. #barntonquarry #museum #planning #ROTOR

The bunker is in Barnton Quarry and has undergone years of painstaking restoration.

Looking for something to do tomorrow when it’s windy and rainy? Why not visit our fabulous sister ROTOR bunker in Fife? ...
08/02/2020

Looking for something to do tomorrow when it’s windy and rainy? Why not visit our fabulous sister ROTOR bunker in Fife? Here’s some snapshots of what to expect! And remember, your door entry pennies help us restore Barnton Quarry! #barntonquarry #ssb #troywood

We have a well stocked shop in our Reception area for all your Bunker memorabilia for all ages .. Remember and sign the visitors book before you leave please. We look forward to your visit. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Our sister bunker is open again for the season! Remember, it financially supports the work we carry out preserving Barnt...
02/02/2020

Our sister bunker is open again for the season! Remember, it financially supports the work we carry out preserving Barnton Quarry so do visit if you can! #barntonquarry #troywood

Ssshhh!! Attention!!! Did you know that Scotland’s Secret Bunker is now open to the public for 2020 ! It’s a secret but we are happy you tell your friends and family and you might even meet the man in the photo. You just never know!

#lovefife
#visitscotland

Www.secretbunker.co.uk

Merry Xmas from the restoration team at Barnton Quarry! Here's a snowy scene at the bunker from 1989. #barntonquarry
24/12/2019

Merry Xmas from the restoration team at Barnton Quarry! Here's a snowy scene at the bunker from 1989. #barntonquarry

A few shots of the very few racks of GPO apparatus that remain today at BQ. We will have a very exciting announcement to...
13/11/2019

A few shots of the very few racks of GPO apparatus that remain today at BQ. We will have a very exciting announcement to make in the coming weeks as we turn the team's attention to the first phase of the restoration of this room.

A few shots of the very few racks of GPO apparatus that remain today at BQ. We will have a very exciting announcement to make in the coming weeks as we turn the team's attention to the first phase of the restoration of this room.

Great news from Gavin and the team up at Craigiebarns. Love working with you!
05/10/2019

Great news from Gavin and the team up at Craigiebarns. Love working with you!

The team are proud to announce that we have just won the ROCA Heritage Team Award for 2019. To say we're chuffed to bits would be an understatement! Thanks to David and Wendy for collecting it from the Annual Reunion on our behalf.

A thousand thanks to everyone who has helped us over the years, we couldn't do what we do without you and we're so happy that we've been accepted into the Corps family!

Check out the fabulous result of many years of (ongoing!) restoration work by our friends at the Craigiebarns Royal Obse...
03/10/2019
Restoration of bunker offers glimpse of life after nuclear war

Check out the fabulous result of many years of (ongoing!) restoration work by our friends at the Craigiebarns Royal Observer Corps bunker in Dundee! #hardwork #restored #roc #preservingourcoldwarhistory

Take a trip back in time with a look inside Dundee's Cold War relic.

Doors Open Day update! Our volunteer team have been working hard behind the scenes to enable us to safely open a portion...
10/09/2019

Doors Open Day update! Our volunteer team have been working hard behind the scenes to enable us to safely open a portion of the deep R4 bunker to our visitors.

The exciting news is that we've been able to do just that and our visitors this year will be able to walk through these doors to visit the top floor of the underground bunker for the very first time. We're excited! #barntonquarry #doorsopenday

07/09/2019

All tickets for Doors Open Day have now been snapped up. We have a very exciting DoD announcement to make shortly! Anyone care to hazard a guess at what it might be? #barntonquarry #doorsopenday

Announcement time! Tickets for our Doors Open Day events on 28th and 29th September are bookable via this EventBrite lin...
02/09/2019
Barnton Quarry Bunker Doors Open Day

Announcement time! Tickets for our Doors Open Day events on 28th and 29th September are bookable via this EventBrite link from Friday 6th September at 12:00.

Another unique opportunity to visit us to see our exhibition in the surface building and walk down the tunnel which leads to the R4 bunker!

#barntonquarry #doorsopenday

A second opportunity to visit part of Edinburgh's secret, underground history. Although built at great expense in the early 1950's this unique facility was a complete secret until the early 80's! Barnton Quarry bunker is actually two bunkers, a WW2 era remote control bunker for RAF Turnhouse and a C...

Check our our friends restoring the diesel generator at the former RSG at Drakelow. Like our team, these guys are all vo...
22/08/2019

Check our our friends restoring the diesel generator at the former RSG at Drakelow. Like our team, these guys are all volunteers working to preserve our military history.

**MEGA GENNY UPDATE**

Missed us? Our minions have been busy, to say this started off with a clogged radiator many months ago, to now having the generator stripped down and rebuilt putting shiny new bits in here and there and fixing/cleaning stuff is an understatement.

Here are several days worth of work (WE HAVEN'T FINISHED YET!!), comments by one of our head Generator Engineers, Russ Hawkes, pictures are also by him, unless he is under the generator, then the pics are taken by our other Chief Engineer Minion...

**As some one will ask, it is a Cummins nt 855 14 litre engine.**

Pics are pretty much in order of work carried out.

Russ Hawkes Quotes:

With our home made puller we made today we pulled out the 6 cylinder liners not one of the seals was intact. Their job is to keep the engines fluids seperate and they weren't, what you see is all mucky is what is getting replaced with the same, they are what the pistons go up and down inside, water and oil flow arround them in seperate galleries, we are replacing all 6 with new, though the old bits will make a nice display.

We also fitted new liners and the old sump gasket was removed.

We had to get the pistons machined at the shop as they are the only ones they make. Luckily there was no charge for them to do this and they are now ready to fit.

Then we put in the new no. 1 and no. 2 pistons, we had to make a ring clamp out of an old oil can so the pistons would slide into the liners without damaging the rings, the engine was turned over by hand to make sure they run smoothly and they did so back on went the first cylinder head.

Another day now as we continue to work on the genny, all 6 of the pistons now in, conrods done up to the specified tourque settings and all 3 of the cylinder heads fitted and correctly tourque set. Made a new piston ring clamp which made the job of getting the pistons in a lot easier than the one we made the other day.

The old nackerd pistons and liners are near the canteen now so people can look at them, i've coverd them in oil so if anyone wants to touch them they will get in a mess lol

Looking for something to do on a rainy day? Head underground where the rain don’t reach and help support our historic pr...
27/07/2019

Looking for something to do on a rainy day? Head underground where the rain don’t reach and help support our historic project! We’re not open to the public yet, but our fabulous sister site near Anstruther is open today and every day during the summer until 5pm.

RAF Troywood (Scotland's Secret Bunker) was built at the same time as RAF Barnton Quarry as an R3 GCI (Ground Controlled Intercept) radar station and reported the radar data into the R4 SOC (Sector Operations Centre) at Barnton Quarry.

The two bunkers were designed on the same Ministry of Works draft table and are of very similar construction. The key difference is that the R3 was designed around the radar operations and has two floors, while the R4 is designed for sector operation control and hence has three floors.

Here are some photos of what originally went on at Anstruther back in the 1950s! #troywood #ssb #barntonquarry

02/07/2019

We’re excited to announce our participation in Edinburgh Doors Open Day again this year. Details to follow as the plan develops! #barntonquarry #dod #edinburgh

We have original flushing toilets and hot running water! A bit of a 'crap' update, but we're quite excited to have been ...
12/06/2019

We have original flushing toilets and hot running water! A bit of a 'crap' update, but we're quite excited to have been able to finally bring the original porcelain back into service only 8 years into the project! This is in the SOC, we're hoping to do the same in the R4 very soon. #barntonquarry #smokemeakipper

Today, RAF personnel in the ROTOR R3 bunker at RAF Boulmer expertly performed the coordination of the Russian bomber int...
30/03/2019

Today, RAF personnel in the ROTOR R3 bunker at RAF Boulmer expertly performed the coordination of the Russian bomber interception role which was carried out in the ROTOR R4 bunker at RAF Barnton Quarry until 60 years ago. #SecuringTheSkies #boulmer #barntonquarry #radar #rotor #intercept #raf

Earlier today, #QRA Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled to intercept two Russian Tu-160 Blackjacks as they approached UK airspace.

The supersonic bombers were monitored by the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer, along with our NATO partners before being intercepted. Our Typhoons ensured that they did not enter UK sovereign airspace.

#SecuringTheSkies #WeAreNATO

The MoD are following our lead and getting their bunker ready too! Do you also want to hide in a hole in the ground and ...
22/03/2019
MoD hosts no-deal planning in bunker

The MoD are following our lead and getting their bunker ready too! Do you also want to hide in a hole in the ground and avoid the Brexit calamity? We have just the place for you to hide/volunteer. Check our pinned post!

Disclaimer: despite being a Faraday cage, we have wi-fi in the bunker and news updates which may make you wince may get through. Your statutory rights are unaffected. #barntonquarry #mod #brexit #hide #volunteer #edinburgh

Defence officials say the preparations at their Whitehall HQ are part of wider cross government action.

Check out our friends at the former RAF Neatishead preserving all kinds of radar awesomeness! Well worth a visit next ti...
02/03/2019

Check out our friends at the former RAF Neatishead preserving all kinds of radar awesomeness! Well worth a visit next time you're in Norfolk. #neatishead #adrm #barntonquarry

Our volunteers have been working hard over the winter on a major revamp of the museum with new rooms and exhibits ..here is a glimpse of the new communications room coming together.. we open in one months time!

The former ROTOR R3 bunker at Boulmer, Northumberland is home to this chap, the RAF Surveillance Director. The whole rad...
22/02/2019

The former ROTOR R3 bunker at Boulmer, Northumberland is home to this chap, the RAF Surveillance Director. The whole radar surveillance operation at Barnton Quarry, necessitating nearly 400 RAF staff in the 1950s, has gradually been replaced by advancing technology and now comprises Flt. Lt. Godbolt and a lot of processing power! #boulmer #barntonquarry #radar #RAF #progress

Flight Lieutenant Ali Godbolt recently qualified as a Surveillance Director. His primary role is to manage the UK's Surveillance Command and Control, this involves creating the Recognised Air Picture, where every aircraft in the sky over and around the UK is accounted for and categorised. If an aircraft deviates from a plan or two-way communication is lost, it may result in the launch of the Quick Reaction Alert Force.

#boulmerintroducing

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Our Story

RAF Barnton Quarry, 4 miles from the city centre of Edinburgh and buried deep under Corstorphine Hill, has a long association with the RAF which dates back to WWII when the site was selected for the construction of the Sector Operations Centre of the Turnhouse Sector of 13 Group Fighter Command. After WWII, the UK government identified Russia as a key threat to national security and initiated a defence programme codenamed ‘ROTOR’. The ‘ROTOR’ plan called for 38 protected sites be built throughout the UK. Barnton Quarry was selected as the site for the RAF defence nerve centre for Scotland, the Sector Operation Centre.

In 1950, construction of the largest bunker design to leave the Ministry of Works drawing table before or since - the ‘R4’ type - was started on the floor of the former Dolerite quarry at Clermiston. By the end of 1951 the concrete sarcophagus was in place and thousands of tons of shale were being trucked in from Dalmeny to bury the bunker below the surface. In 1952, the site became fully operational.

Operating as the Sector Operations Centre for the Caledonian (Scottish) sector of RAF Fighter Command, the site was at the top of the radar command and control hierarchy, directing RAF fighter response to UK airspace intrusion by Russian long-range nuclear bombers. Nearly 400 staff at RAF Barnton Quarry protected the UK from nuclear attack from 1952 up until 1959. The theme was very much command and control, with radar sites stretching from the very north of Scotland right down to Northumberland (including our other bunker/museum, Scotland’s Secret Bunker, RAF Troywood near Anstruther) reporting radar contacts to RAF Barnton Quarry via dedicated telephone lines, where the information was triangulated and subsequently plotted on huge map tables for RAF fighter commanders to view and make decisions regarding the fighter response. The scale of the RAF operation here was astonishing; the central operations well is vast and exists over three floors deep underground. The bunker was specifically designed to withstand Russian attack. It's buried 100ft underground with walls of 10ft thick reinforced concrete, tank-metal blast doors, generators and a complex air conditioning and filtration system. The site is of great historical importance as it is the largest, latest and only surviving example of this type of bunker in the world which retains the original ‘Dowding’ RAF three-level operations room. Sadly, the bunker has been neglected for many years and has suffered theft and fire damage. We plan to restore it exactly as it was under the RAF in 1952 and open the site as a museum so that visitors can experience it first-hand for themselves. Our vision is to lever interactive technology to create rotating exhibits, all relevant to the teaching of RAF and Cold War history. The space we have on the site is huge, hence we plan reserve a chunk of our display space to invite guest exhibitors to display with the objective of providing new and interesting display topics for returning visitors. Additionally, we’re planning to create dedicated permanent displays to preserve the history of RAF 603 Squadron in the bunker which was home to the SOC from which it was commanded! We've been working hard for the past eight years to recover the site. We're making great progress, but there is still a long way to go! Volunteers are the lifeblood of what we're doing and we're very keen for volunteers to get involved in the project. Any help is appreciated! See our pinned post for details of how to get involved.

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