Barnton Quarry

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Barnton Quarry and Bunker from Corstorphine Hill

Barnton Quarry is a disused stone quarry in Corstorphine Hill, Clermiston, Edinburgh, Scotland. The site was later used as a military command centre, and is now being converted into a museum.

Stone was extracted from the quarry until 1914. During the Second World War, the Royal Air Force (RAF) built a Fighter Command operations room in the quarry. In 1952, during the Cold War, this facility was expanded into a central coordination facility for radar stations throughout Scotland. The military authorities closed the site and in 1983 and transferred ownership to the local council.

The site was subsequently vandalized and damaged by fire. The site is now being cleaned and restored with the goal of creating a local Cold War museum and education centre. The project is being undertaken by volunteers, with funding from the owners of Scotland's Secret Bunker, another disused bunker now run as a tourist attraction.


Inside Barnton Quarry Bunker during restoration in 2018

Barnton Quarry produced stone until 1914.[1] then in 1942 was used as a RAF fighter command operations room.

A bunker was built in 1952[1] as the SOC (Sector Operations Centre) for correlating information from ROTOR radar stations throughout Scotland. The bunker comprises three underground levels and a large surface building which pre-dates the underground structure.

The site was re-designated as a Regional Seat of Government in the early 1960s. The bunker was kept ready to accommodate 400 politicians and civil servants for up to 30 days.[2] It remained operational until the early 1980s. Ownership was transferred to Lothian Regional Council in 1983.[2] The Council sold the site in the late 1980s to a private property developer.

The underground structure was damaged by fire in August 1991 and again in May 1993.[1]

The site was purchased by James Mitchell, Owner of Scotland's Secret Bunker.[3] Since 2011, a team of volunteers has helped with renovation efforts.[2] The aim is to create a museum and education centre with a view to restoring the R4 bunker to the original 1952 configuration.[1][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d O’Leary, David (26 February 2013). "Queen's Edinburgh nuclear bunker to open as museum". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c McDowall, Julie (18 January 2016). "Our Cold War secret bunker in an Edinburgh suburb". The National. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Secret underground bunker in Edinburgh opened up to visitors. The bunker was built beneath Corstorphine Hill during the 1950s to help defend against nuclear war". STV News. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Inside the Barnton Quarry Cold War nuclear bunker". Edinburgh Evening News. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°57′35″N 3°16′40″W / 55.95972°N 3.27778°W / 55.95972; -3.27778