Press release

DIY Cold War nuclear bunker receives Grade II listing

A DIY nuclear bunker built at the height of Cold War fear has received Grade II listing.

Entrance to bunker
Entrance to bunker

A DIY nuclear bunker built at the height of Cold War fear has received Grade II listing from Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch.

The shelter, constructed in 1982 in the owner’s back garden, is one of the few surviving reminders of the impact the Cold War threat had on the public.

Noel Barrett used mainly second-hand materials such as reinforced concrete, steel and brick to create the one-storey bunker, which was designed to protect him and his family in the event of nuclear fall-out.

Construction took almost six months of weekend work to complete, and even included domestic comforts such as a spa bath and carpeting. While domestic shelters were commercially available during the Cold War, very few were actually built.

Experts say the building is historically important as it shows the nervousness that people felt during the Cold War, especially in Norfolk which was home to numerous airfields.

The decision to list was made based on the nuclear shelter’s rarity, design, and historic interest.

Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said:

This unique building is a clear reminder of the fear and anxiety that was present throughout the country during the Cold War. Though never used, it’s a part of history that should be conserved for generations to come and this Grade II listing will help do that.

Tony Calladine, Listing Team Leader at Historic England, said:

This is a rare example of a private nuclear shelter as very few are known to survive. It vividly illustrates public anxiety during a period of heightened tension towards the end of the Cold War and therefore fully merits being Grade II listed.

Noel Barrett, the bunker’s owner said:

At the time I really felt that war was a real possibility and I spent months building this shelter to make sure that my family was protected. I am so proud that something I created will be recognised with a listing so people will remember what life during the Cold War was like.

Published 15 January 2016