‘The Magic Mountain’ or the Avionic Building was built in 1988 and became redundant in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall; the building marks both the peak and the end of the cold war.
THE NUCLEAR BUNKER
The multi-million dollar bunker was ‘state of the art’ in its time and is one of only two buildings of its type in Europe. Its site along with two hangars for the U2 spy planes form part of a heritage project. New International Encounter Theatre company is working with housing developers Urban and Civic to interpret the stories of the site for today.
The structure has a clinker buster cap, the latest ‘anti-blast’ ballast foundations and other protection from attack by biological, conventional or nuclear weaponry.
Its function was to process the photographic information from the TR-1 Dragonlady spy planes (successor to U2 planes). The bunker housed large photo processing and footage assessment rooms. Superior intelligence on the enemy’s positions gave crucial military advantage. This intelligence function was therefore given maximum protection to allow defence analysts to continue to report in the event of a nuclear attack.
TR-1 DRAGONLADY SPY PLANES
The arrival of these planes (8-20 were on the base at any one time) was politically contentious and secret. The planes were housed in large hardened concrete hangars. These hangars, designed to incorporate the enormous wingspan of the Dragonlady aircraft, are unique to Alconbury.
There are three levels of security clearance. Top Secret, Secret and Confidential. Only those officials with Top Secret clearance could access the information at Magic Mountain.