This month English Heritage is marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis with a series of special events at the York Cold War Bunker. One of the few Cold War buildings in England open to the public, the bunker is a chilling monument to those 13 days in October 1962 when the world held its breath as the Americans and Soviets circled on the brink of nuclear conflict.
Kevin Booth, Senior Curator at English Heritage, told us: “The anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis is an ideal opportunity to explore the impact of the Cold War on Yorkshire, and on the country’s architecture, landscape and psyche. The York Cold War Bunker provides a perfect setting for this and we are using its arresting and sober atmosphere to stage films, special tours and talks, and a specially commissioned photographic exhibition looking at the largely forgotten Cold War bunkers dotted across Yorkshire.”
Events at the York Cold War Bunker include photograph exhibition, Cold War film classics and special tours and talks:
Photography Exhibition: ‘Yorkshire’s Forgotten Cold War Landscape’ by Graham Cook
16-18, 22, 23 & 25 October, 7pm-9pm – £3 – No booking required
This semi-secret physical presence in many ways symbolised the overbearing threat of nuclear conflict driven by Cold War politics. Graham Cook has photographed these posts, now largely overgrown and forgotten. Displaying the atmospheric photographs of the posts in the York Cold War Bunker unites all the elements in the monitoring process and poses questions about why these posts – once the frontline in the event of a nuclear attack – have been forgotten, and what this says about our collective memory of the Cold War.
Tours: 20, 21, 27, 28 October – £6.20, £5.40, £3.70 – No booking required
Discover the story and secrets of the Cold War Bunker in these special hour-long guided tours, enhanced by a striking film and interpretation.
Talk: ‘Protect and Survive: Protecting, Preserving and Presenting Cold War Heritage’
24 October, 7.30pm – £20 – Call 01904 646940 to book
Join English Heritage’s Wayne Cocroft, author of ‘Cold War: Building for Nuclear Confrontation’ as he explains the development of nuclear defence buildings in England and English Heritage’s role in conserving them. The York Cold War Bunker will be focussed on in particular and visitors will get a unique insight into its secrets and ongoing preservation.
Family Event: Pinhole Cameras
29 October, 10am-11.30am & 12.30pm-2pm – £2 – Call 01904 646940 to book – Children must be accompanied by an adult
The simple technology of a pinhole camera was to be used to record the flash of a nuclear explosion and give its bearing and elevation. In this hands-on activity session, people of all ages can learn how to make basic pinhole cameras and then create an image which can be kept.
For bookings contact 01904 646 940 and for further visitor information visit here.