The Cabinet War Rooms

Churchill’s wartime bunker is a fascinating piece of living history; an underground maze of rooms that once buzzed with round-the-clock planning and plotting, strategies and secrets. As you explore the historic rooms for yourself, you can imagine what life would have been like during the tense days and nights of the Second World War.

You’ll begin your journey at the War Cabinet Room, where Churchill and his inner circle plotted the war. See the chair in which Churchill presided over meetings, the scratch marks on the arms bearing witness to the intense pressure he was under at these times.

As you go deeper into the warren of rooms, you’ll discover how life and work continued underground, from top-secret conversations between Churchill and Roosevelt in the Transatlantic Telephone Room to more domestic concerns in the Churchills’ Kitchen.

In the Map Room, the informational hub of the entire site, everything has remained exactly as it was when the lights were finally switched off on 16 August 1945. The so-called ‘beauty chorus’ of colour-coded telephones; the books and documents piled on desks; the rationed sugar cubes found in an envelope belonging to Wing Commander John Heagarty; the wartime maps covering the walls, and the thousands of tiny pinholes dotting the progress of Allied ships across the Convoy Map.

Right next door to the Map Room, you’ll find Churchill’s Room, an office-bedroom boasting the most comfortable living conditions within the bunker. Churchill only slept overnight in this room on three occasions, but he did make four of his wartime speeches from the desk here, including his 11 September 1940 speech warning of Hitler’s plan to wage a war of terror against the United Kingdom.

Collections in Context

The Cabinet War Rooms
From 1939 to 1945, a group of basement offices in Whitehall served as the nerve centre of Britain’s war effort...

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