NE Region Emergency Grid Control Centre

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The North-East Region Emergency Grid Control Centre was a concrete bunker that housed emergency controls for the North-East region's electricity grid. It was built in 1953, presumably by the British Electricity Authority (BEA), as one of eight such emergency controls in similarly remote areas to provide alternative controls for the electrical grid in case of attack or disruption to the main control centres.

The bunker was situated next to other emergency utility buildings, including the PR2 Repeater Station, for telecommunications, and 'RAF Rothwell Haigh', which were offices next to the repeater station. The peacetime controls for the North-East region's electricity grid were at Becca Hall in Aberford.


The bunker was constructed in 1953, presumably by the BEA.[1] The bunker was one of eight constructed across England and Scotland,[2] with the North-East control centre being one of the earliest built and one of the more substantial ones.[3] It was built next to another emergency bunker: one of the country's two PR2 repeater stations, which sat atop telephone wires that had been dug deep underground to ensure cities would have telephone connections in the event of an attack.[3] Next to this bunker were unprotected offices, known as 'RAF Rothwell Haigh'.[4]

The bunker's purpose is unclear. The Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB; a successor to the BEA) supposedly told those who inquired about it that the bunker had been built as an emergency control for the electricity grid in World War II and that it merely stored telecommunications equipment after that. On Ordnance Survey maps, it was simply listed as a warehouse.[4] Several writers assert that it served as alternative emergency controls in the event that the peacetime controls, located in Becca Hall, were to come under attack or were disrupted by an attack on the UK.[4][3] However, the CEGB only purchased Becca Hall in 1958, which suggests either the bunker was not built in 1953 or that it was not intended as an 'alternative' to Becca Hall. Yet, physical similarities (see Design) between the bunker and parts of the CEGB's additions to Becca Hall suggests there was a connection between the two.[5]

It is unclear when the bunker was decommissioned, however a planning application lists the land as vacant in 2006 and its previous use as unknown.[6] There were other residential planning applications for the site from as early as 1993,[7] and Becca Hall was decomissioned in 1997/1998.[8] The bunker still exists on the site but is now in the garden of a private home.[9]


The bunker is 30m (100ft) long and 8m (25ft) wide.[4] It has been described as "a concrete blockhouse"[4] and "like a pair of typical Civil Defence control bunkers of the period joined end to end".[3]

The bunker shares some physical characteristics with what was thought to be the original centre of the CEGB's operations at Becca Hall. The two have protected openings on their external walls that are very similar.[10]

External Links

  • For information on the different electricity bodies: BEA, CEA, CEGB.


  1. (Campbell, 1983, p.266) gives the date 1953 and says it was constructed for the BEA, while (Dennison and Richardson, 2012, p.8) gives the range of dates 1950-55 and presumes it was constructed for the BEA (1947-1955) or Central Electricity Authority (CEA; 1955-1957).
  2. (Catford, 2001) and (McCamley, 2007, pp.242-243) suggest there were eight, while (Campbell, 1983, p.266) suggests there were six.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 (McCamley, 2007, pp.242-243)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 (Campbell, 1983, p.266)
  5. (Dennison and Richardson, 2012, p.8)
  6. (Application No.: 06/03301/RM, 2006)
  7. (Application No.: 22/188/93/OT, 1993)
  8. (Dennison and Richardson, 2012, p.11)
  9. (WYHER/10548, n.d.). This is record from the West Yorkshire Archive Service's catalogue, not the item the record refers to.
  10. (Dennison and Richardson, 2012, p.26); see the covered openings on Becca Hall [Plate 36] and the covered openings on the bunker.

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