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Churchill War Rooms

That small door wedged between the stairs and the building is the entrance to the Cabinet War Rooms and the Churchill Museum, together called the Churchill War Rooms.

Check out the full story at A tour of the Churchill War Rooms and the Imperial War Museum London.

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The Man Himself

Greeting you as you enter, and before you descend into the museum, is a bust of Sir Winston himself.

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The War Cabinet

Churchill's War Cabinet, eight members of the Conservative and Labour parties, met here to discuss military and domestic policies.

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Tunnels

The corridors are surprisingly spacious for an underground bunker. Underneath was the sub-basement, where many of the staff slept at night.

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Private 'bathroom'

Most of the staff were told this was a private bathroom for Churchill. In fact, it was a scrambled transatlantic telephone connection to the White House.

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Churchill Museum

The life and times of Sir Winston Churchill, shown through an excellent multimedia showcase.

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Heavy ceilings

To make the bunker as bomb-proof as possible (including a direct hit of a 250kg bomb), a thick layer of concrete covers the complex.

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Cozy

Though not spacious, the higher-ranked staff at least got a room, as opposed to bunks in the sub-basement.

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Dining

The prime minister's dining room.

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Mrs. Churchill

Mrs. Churchill had her own bedroom in the bunker, though neither she nor her husband spent many nights here.

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Chiefs of Staff Conference Room

Note the map on the left wall, said to be from when Churchill was Lord of the Admiralty. According to the notes for this room, "Some of the most important strategic decisions of the Second World War were taken in this room."

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Kitchen

The kitchen for the Churchills. Note the manual pump (center left) to get the wastewater up to the surface.

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More corridors

Just when you think you're at the end, you turn another corner and it opens up into a new series of corridors.

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Former plant room

This used to be the distribution hub for the power for the bunker (hence the dials and knobs on the right). Now it's actually a space you can rent out for special events.

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Girders

More than just overbuilt to protect against bombs, there's actually an entire building above that needs support, too.

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Radio, Radio

This room was used to help broadcast the PM out over the airwaves.

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Switchboard

The switchboard had to be manned 24 hours a day. In the back you can see the bunk for the brief moments of sleep.

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Computers

The typing pool too was kept active constantly.

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Green telephone

One of the general's offices. The most interesting thing about this room was the green telephone, which was connected to something the size of a suitcase on the floor. It was an early scrambler for voice calls.

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The Map Room

Each station was manned by a liaison for a different branch of the armed services. The telephones, called the Beauty Chorus, were direct lines to the the different branches' headquarters all over London.

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Sugar

Note the sugar on the lower left. When the Cabinet War Rooms were unsealed and reopened in the 1970s (for the first time since the war), a packet of sugar was found in this desk. Sugar, being rationed at the time, was highly valuable, and was likely hidden here by one of the last officers to man this desk. 1940s sugar. How cool is that? I wonder how it tastes.

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High-tech

Special communications device? Light switch? Buzzer?

Nope. Electric cigarette lighter, wired up by the engineers.

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Churchill's bedroom

Adjacent to the Map Room is Churchill's bedroom. Spacious, but he only slept here three times.

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Imperial War Museum London

A few tube stops away from the War Rooms is our next destination, the Imperial War Museum London.

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15-inchers

Each of the two guns comes from a different ship that saw action in World War II.

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Atrium

A Harrier and a Spitfire hang in the huge atrium, along side a V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket.

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Spitfire

Certainly one of the most important (and iconic) British aircraft. Check out my tour of the Royal Air Force Museum for more on this plane and the Battle of Britain.

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Rockets and jets

The terror weapons of the V-1 and V-2.

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Video/paper

At the entrance of the new World War I area was a really cool display. Projectors mounted on the ceiling, firing down (next slide), project moving images on what look like pieces of paper. A neat effect, done well.

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Looking up at Epson

Probably not surprising they went with Epson, given how bright its projectors tend to be.

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Uniforms

Wool remnants of an earlier era. Can you imagine soldiers in the field wearing red now?

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Propagandize

An interesting look at how the British government got men to enlist throughout the Commonwealth.

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Grenades

A terrifying look at the myriad granade types used throughout the war.

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Gas

Shells for delivery of poison gas.

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Artillery

Delivery device for said shells.

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Weapons of war

Rifle, machine gun and some of the massive shells used during the war.

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Vehicular

In this cool display, a British Mark V tank rides up over a trench, while a biplane "flies" over. Note the shadows on the wall's lower right.

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Shadows

This was clever: shadows projected on the wall of soldiers going about their business.

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Camel

A rather gorgeous Sopwith Camel.

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Later uniforms

Uniforms from later in the war. Definitely a lot more pragmatic. Though...blue? Really?

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What's in the box?

Morrison shelter. No relation.

Also, creepy.

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Nose

The front portion of an Avro Lancaster.

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Incendiaries

I'd always pictured incendiary bombs to look like regular bombs. Apparently they don't.

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Sherm

Sherman tanks are a lot bigger up close (and inside).

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Pig

Humber Pig used during The Troubles.

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UN Scout Car

This was labeled a Cyprus UN Scout car, but I think that's the same as the Ferret, correct?

It's much smaller than I would have thought.

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Harrier

One of the iconic Harrier Jump Jets capable of V/STOL.

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Another Brick in the Wall

One of the many slabs of The Wall found in museums all over the world.

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Aussie missile

The Australian antisubmarine missile Ikara.

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The End

A model of Little Boy. Perhaps a fitting and somber end to the tour.

Check out the full article at A tour of the Churchill War Rooms and the Imperial War Museum London.

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