Churchill War Room

Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AQ
Admission: GBP 15.45
Wheelchair Access
 

Opening Times

Monday: 0930 - 1800
Tuesday: 0930 - 1800
Wednesday: 0930 - 1800
Thursday: 0930 - 1800
Friday: 0930 - 1800
Saturday: 0930 - 1800
Sunday: 0930 - 1800
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Transport Info
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Transport Info

Transport Info

Tube : Westminster (District & Circle line), Charing Cross (Northern & Bakerloo line).

If you have a passion for History and want to know more about strategy and military action during the Second World War the Churchill War Rooms are worth a visit. The site belongs to the Imperial War Museum. The Churchill museum if focused on the life of the great English statesman Winston Churchill. And the site is actually of the historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War.

The construction of the Cabinet War Rooms, located beneath the Treasury building in the Whitehall area of Westminster, began in 1938. They became operational in August 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war in Europe. They remained in operation throughout the Second World War, before being abandoned in August 1945 after the surrender of Japan. After the war the historic value of the Cabinet War Rooms was recognised. In the early 1980s the Imperial War Museum was asked to take over the administration of the site, and the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public in April 1984.

Back in 1936, the Air Ministry, the British government department responsible for the Royal Air Force, believed that in the event of war enemy aerial bombing of London would cause up to 200,000 casualties per week. The Office concluded the most suitable site was the basement of the New Public Offices, a government building located on the corner of Horse Guards Road. Work began in June 1938 including installing communications and broadcasting equipment, sound-proofing, ventilation and reinforcement. In August 1939, with war imminent and protected government facilities in the suburbs not yet ready, the War Rooms became operational on 27 August 1939, only days before the invasion of Poland on 1 September, and Britain's declaration of war on Germany on 3 September.

Visiting the different rooms, you'll get an overview on 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. Showing more Churchill intimacy is 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.

© Imperial War Museum / E.B