A 30,000 sq ft former World War Two bunker in Liverpool will undergo a six-week restoration by Big Heritage, after it agreed a long-term lease with landlord Shelborn.
The bunker, Western Approaches HQ, where the Battle of the Atlantic was masterminded, was assigned to the non-profit heritage innovators this week after Shelborn Asset Management approved the lease terms.
Big Heritage, which was praised for its Pokémon GO festival in Chester in July, is aiming to have Western Approaches, underneath Exchange Flags, reopened in time for the October half-term.
Big Heritage founder Dean Paton and a team of archaeologists, project managers and builders have already set plans to accurately restore the forgotten city centre visitor experience.
Paton said: “Western Approaches HQ is one of the most important buildings in the world associated with World War Two. Whilst it was meant to be a secret during the war, sadly in recent decades it has become almost anonymous once again.”
Dust-covered artefacts and archives are being discovered during the renovation of the bomb and gas-proof building, which Big Heritage says has three-foot deep walls and contains hundreds of rooms.
Patton added: “We’ve found a number of previously forgotten rooms, and have unearthed a few exciting finds along the way. It’s a treasure trove of World War Two memories archived and stored for decades. What’s exciting is that much of this stuff hasn’t even been seen before by the public.”
Western Approaches was staffed predominantly by the Women’s Royal Naval Service. It was also home to commanders including Admiral Sir Max Horton, who oversaw the Battle of the Atlantic campaign, Captain Johnny Walker, who sank more U-Boats that any other allied commander, and was regularly visited by war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill.