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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
22nd September 1924 Illustrator and author Charles Keeping was born in Lambeth.
22nd September 1891 Footballer and writer Charlie Buchan was born in Plumstead.
22nd September 1870 5-time British Wimbledon tennis champion Charlotte Cooper was born in Ealing.
22nd September 1788 Author, practical joker and inventor of the postcard, Theodore Hook, was born in London.
22nd September 1761 The Coronation of George III in Westminster Abbey.
22nd September 1735 Robert Walpole the first British Prime Minister to live at 10 Downing Street.
22nd September 1694 Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, creator of Gregorian calendar, was born in London.
This is Churchill's secret back up bunker, only used twice.
Location: Brook Road, Neasden, London
Description: There is a small discrete door inbetween two modern homes here that hides the main entrance to the secret concrete rooms and corridors created in the Second World War as a refuge for Churchill and the war cabinet. They called it the Paddock - a code name for this underground bunker.
This part of Neasden was home to a very secret Post Office research centre created in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
It's 14 metres underground and protected by a concrete roof 1.5 metres thick, above this was a second underground level covered with another concrete roof which was 1 metre thick.
Paddock duplicated the facilities of the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall but Churchill much preferred to be in central London and he only attended one of two cabinet meetings ever held in the Neasden bunker. He regarded it as a last resort if all else failed.
The Paddock was locked up and abandoned at the end of the war, and the post office research centre moved away in the early 1970s.
When the housing association reopened Paddock they found that it was very damp and that the lowest level was knee-deep in water. Stalactites hang from the ceilings and everything is covered in mould.