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The York Cold War Bunker is a two-storey semi-subterranean Cold War bunker in the Holgate area of York, England, built in 1961[1] to monitor nuclear explosions and fallout in Yorkshire in the event of nuclear war.

The building was used throughout its operational existence as the regional headquarters and control centre for No. 20 Group Royal Observer Corps YORK between 1961 and 1991. It is an English Heritage Scheduled Monument[2] and was opened in 2006 by English Heritage as a tourist attraction.

During its Cold War operational period the building could have supported 60 local volunteer members of the Royal Observer Corps inclusive of a ten man United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation scientific warning team. They would have collated details of nuclear bombs exploded within the UK and tracked radioactive fallout across the Yorkshire region, warning the public of its approach.

The fully restored building contains air filtration and generating plant, kitchen and canteen, dormitories, radio and landline communication equipment and specialist 1980s computers and a fully equipped operations room with vertical illuminated perspex maps.

The attraction opens every 1st and 3rd weekends of each month and Bank Holidays from 10am - 3pm and is only accessible by one hour long tours, departing every 30 minutes and includes a 10 minute (PG rated) informational video about nuclear war. Access on weekdays is by arrangement for school and other interested group visits.


  1. Cold War bunker, Holgate, York, The Press (4 August 2007), retrieved on 22 September 2007
  2. NO 20 GROUP ROYAL OBSERVER CORPS HEADQUARTERS, English Heritage Pastscapes (2007), retrieved on 22 September 2007

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