Ipswich: Secret bunker that no one can get into

David Ellesmere is keen to find the entrance to the nuclear bunker. David Ellesmere is keen to find the entrance to the nuclear bunker.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
9:31 AM

It’s the nuclear bunker that’s so secret no one knows how to get into it.

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Ipswich council has just completed the purchase of the former Crown Court building in Civic Drive – which comes complete with a nuclear bunker underneath.

Officials would love to have a look around the bunker, even possibly taking visitors on guided tours, but they have no idea how to get into it!

There is no door from the Crown Court building.

There is believed to be an entrance from the police station next door, in which case the borough should be able to get in after the end of next month because they’re buying that as well.

Some believe there was an entrance from the bottom basement of the Civic Centre tower block which was demolished in 2008 – but long serving borough employs say they are not aware of it.

The Star was shown around the former Crown Court by borough leader David Ellesmere and property manager John Parling just days after it completed the deal to buy the building from the Ministry of Justice.

The Crown Court moved out when its new building in Russell Road opened in 2004 – and until 2012 the offices were used by police as an annex to their station next door.

Mr Ellesmere said: “We know the bunker is underneath the building, but the entrance is thought to have been concreted over and we have not managed to find where it is.

“I would like to be able to open it up. There is a real fascination about this kind of thing. I’d like to be able to give visitors a guided tour to see what there is under here. But we have to find a way in first.”

And he admitted the search for the bunker had dominated discussions since the council had taken over the building.

“John Parling and his team did a great job in sorting out this deal, but all he keeps getting asked is ‘Where’s the bunker?’ I think he’s heard enough about that now.”

The borough is due to take over the ownership of the police station in the spring when the police finally move to their new office in Museum Street. Most of the building has been empty since the police moved to Landmark House in 2012.

Officially it might not be their top priority, but senior officers and councillors are expected to try to find an entrance to the bunker – and see if there is any way it can be opened.

27 comments

  • It's probably accessible via the ancient tunnel network that linked the Mansion and various other buildings in Ipswich, including the Scrutton accountants building on the corner of Museum Street.

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    Mister Cynical

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Ok. So nobody has thought to pull the pans to these buildings then surly they must be marked on there seeing as ho a doorway would need to be engineered into the building..... NOOOOOOOOOOOO Of course not this is ipswich we are talking about. Full of idiots and loudmouths that know nothing

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    Mr cynical

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Sounds like the door I mentioned in the post you chose not to list!

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    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Hey wait a minute, it is probably somewhere down the spiral car park.

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    Lee Davies

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • It amazes me that the people who have access to bunkers are generally the causers of wars in the first place.ie governments. If a nuclear bomb is going to drop let it be on my head as I would not want to live in that world.

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    C Smith

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • I know! Any chance we can dig some more holes, put in lots of temporary traffic lights - and some permanent ones too- and bring the town to a total standstill while we try and find it? Oh hang on, we do that already . .

    Report this comment

    Rob

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • I do not know which employees they asked but even I know as a partner of someone who worked in the Civic Drive office, there was 2 sub-basements below the 2 where the Council Documents where storred that you could only access with a special key in the lift, thats how you got in to it, it was also linked by tunnels to the Police and Magistrates Court. It was only 10yrs ago people it is not ancient history. Ask some of the older employees at the council, yes there are some who have done over 20yrs even if you do not acknowledge them anymore. Loyalty a lost art. Probably asked the new boy or girl who have only ever worked in Endevour Hse not people who worked in an office that gave pride to the Town Council rather than hiding it away in an office block. Pitty we do not have a little more town pride.

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    The Ginge

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Sounds intriguing, however my research has only found one known bunker in the Ipswich area which is in Martlesham Heath - which makes sense due to the history of that area. Other than that the former Council offices (which nothing remains) had a reinforced basement which was set slightly deeper than was necessary for a typical tower block. If they do find a bunker it will explain why the Spiral Car Park was built very quickly, how deep it goes, its very unique design and how overly engineered it was. Oh the whole civic amenities area is on a hill...

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    Samuel Treadaway

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • @David White - because that would be too simple, far better to hire a team of consultants, form a "Locate Lost Bunker" committee and spend £100k in the process to then decide to fill it with concrete. Probably find if you twist one of the traffic lights on civic drive 90 degrees a secret door flies open somewhere. Still a nice project for someone, i mean not like there is anything else to worry about in this town, can't wait until we buy back the police station for at least £600,000 could be the most expensive entrance to a secret bunker ever.

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    dale craven

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Confused, I thought P.G knew everything ;)

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    You What

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • The secret entrance will be in the last place most people wouldn't think of looking. So let's uncover the underpass system at Civic DrivePrinces Street and start there.

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    Andrew Berry

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • I have it on good authority that the entrance is via the little brown door you can see here: https:maps.google.co.ukmaps?q=civic+drive+ipswich&ll=52.057453,1.147991&spn=0.000675,0.002064&hnear=Civic+Dr&gl=uk&t=h&z=20

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    Chris Church

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • @ChrisChurch absolutely correct :) though why no-one in the council had the initiative to try the one door with a door handle on the outside of the building...will have to remain a mystery...

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    beerbaron

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • It seems incredible that the council has authorised the purchase of a premises that it knows includes a basement but to which they have no access and no knowledge of what it contains. Who would buy a house on the same grounds? Of course the council doesn't earn the money it's happy to spend - we do..

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    Gary Sutherland

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • Mr Cynical, school closed was it. Or is spullin not yore fing.

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    Lee Davies

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • I don't care about a secret bunker David Ellesmere it is only a cellar with a couple of phones and probaly flooded anyway. Now if you are going to get the traffic moving or fix all the new holes in the roads that have recently opened up then i am interested. All at IBCSCC are probaly jumping up and down with joy having discovered a secret nuclear bunker. I have an idea, how about doing the job you get paid to do.

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    royg

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • This "secret" nuclear bunker is far from secret. Everyone in Ipswich who have been here for 10 years is likely to know about it. Its rumoured to be under the police station and I believe the Evening Star (before renamed kept mentioning about it). You see, it was "secret" from the Nazis during war time but in recent times its been far from that. I think residents need to ask (maybe I missed something) why IBC is buying it. As usual this PG article is full of bad mistakes like "employs" instead of "employees". I would laugh if the bunker was used to store nuclear waste or equally as much if there are thousands of old traffic lights from the 60s..

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • A controlled nuclear explosion would probably be an improvement. At least all the traffic lights would be gone ;)

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    IpswichResident

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

  • If Mr.Ellesmere manages to discover the door and open it he should be careful on entering the bunker that there is an exit. We wouldn't want him locked underground until after the next General Election, would we ?

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    Brian Betts

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Is it just my imagination or is Mr.Ellesmere attempting to become photogenic all of a sudden? His photo is appearing in Ips.Star on a variety of local issues with which he has become involved OR perhaps he wants local voters to remember him come the next General Election. He'll never make the Back Benches, he cannot see over the top of them ! As many posters have said, "improve the infrastructure of the town" , then you may post your images.

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    Brian Betts

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • If some of the potholes in Ipswich get much bigger they will probably turn into a sinkhole and uncover the bunker ( and it's entrance) anyway.

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    Sentinel Red

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Isn't there an external door at ground level next to the court house?

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    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Why don't they ask Clifford Smith?

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    David White

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Isn't there an external door at ground level on the RHS of the court building?

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    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Hey wait a minute, it is probably somewhere down the spiral car park.

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    Lee Davies

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • The entrance is via the grey friars under pass, where the underground nightclub was.

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    Lee Davies

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • This has all the makings of an Indiana Jones movie, deserted ruins, secret passageways, underground caverns. Perhaps there will be a priceless crystal skull hidden there which will only be found after a huge boulder rolls all the way down Civic Drive. They will then realise the futility of doing away with the roundabout because that was there to catch the boulder.... yet another reason to detest the traffic lights!

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    Citizen

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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