Auxiliary Fire Service

The Project

Secret Bunker/ North is an exciting public art project which shares the hidden military history of Kenton and Blakelaw, reinforcing the area's World War II (WWII) significance within the military past of the UK.

During the Battle of Britain the headquarters of the No. 13 Group RAF Fighter Command was in Kenton, hidden underground in a secret bunker. This was one of four RAF group command bunkers that coordinated the air defence of Great Britain during World War II. Top secret for many years, its rich history is now being discovered and shared by its neighbours and beyond, though the bunker is not accessible to the public.

History of 13 Group Headquarters

 

See the 13 Group Operations room as it once was

 

During the Secret Bunker/ North project local groups and creative professionals have worked together to explore themes of communication, innovations in technology and the experiences of wartime.

The project has:

  • led schools workshops,
  • held community festivals
  • shared people's stories on local radio and talks.
     

It has inspired projects:

  • including community theatre
  • the creation of a play called Bunker Blues,
  • the development of a curriculum topic for Newcastle schools,
  • the creation of two museum handling boxes of delights to complement education work in schools
  • and the creation of an interactive bunker.
     

The culmination of the three year project can be seen and heard at eight locations around Kenton and Blakelaw. Mirroring the secret nature of the bunker, the sound art, created by artist Lucie Potter, is hidden in specially designed benches and plinths marked by the project logo. These sound art installations uncover tales from the bunker from WWII, the lives of military and auxiliary personnel, the technologies that helped us defend our skies as well as more contemporary stories about the bunker.

Find out more about how to go on the Listening Trail [link to listening trail page]

Visit the following sites to view pictures and a video from the Bunker Blues theatrical production:

We have found the history of the Kenton and Blakelaw bunkers fascinating and we hope you do too.

 

But shh… it’s a secret…