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WOODLANDS

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  MOD CORSHAM GPO TELEPHONE EXCHANGE
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Woodlands or the MoD Corsham GPO Telephone Exchange, is a General Post Office telephone exchange which provided telecommunication links between the Central Government War Headquarters and Regional Seats of Governments in the country, and also overseas to allied and Commonwealth governments during the survival and restoration phases following a nuclear attack during the Cold War.

The telephone exchange is situated in a series of underground rooms within Spring Quarry, a Bath stone quarry, which had been requistioned by the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1940 to be used as a underground factory for aeroplane engine production. The factory closed in 1945 and in 1954 Spring Quarry was bought by the government. The northeast area was allocated for convertion into a Central Government War Headquarters designed to accommodate 4000 military and government staff, including the Prime Minister and key cabinet officials in the event of nuclear conflict. Building work started in 1957 and much of the major work had been completed by 1959. However, installation of the telephone exchange, by GPO and RAF engineers, was not completed until 1961.

The exchange occupies a series of rooms covering an area of over 5419 square metres, comprising large manual switchboards, automatic telegraph and telephone switching and comprehensive transmission facilities. It is thought that 1000 staff would be required to operate the system. The Exchange system was regularly tested until 1992. The Central Government War Headquarters was de-commissioned during the early 1990s and de-classified in 2004.

Woodlands is a scheduled monument. For the designation record of this site please see the National Heritage List for England.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.