A unique WWII operational site known as the ‘Battle of Britain Bunker’ has recently undergone a large refurbishment including the installation of Perspex® VA Grade acrylic to protect some of its most vulnerable exhibits for future generations. As part of a multimillion pound re-fit of the historic bunker – officially called The No.11 (Fighter) Group Operations Room - Inplas Fabrications were tasked with producing protective glazing for the 16sqm hand-painted plotting map of South East England and Western Europe once used to direct RAF fighter aircraft during the Battle of Britain and D-Day.
During its time in operation the bunker, located 60ft underground on the former site of RAF Uxbridge and impenetrable at that time, was visited by the King and Queen and Winston Churchill. The room is now set up exactly as it would have looked on 15th September 1940, the day on which Winston Churchill visited and witnessed the conduct of the most significant day of the Battle of Britain.
As well as using the plotting map to display positions of both enemy and friendly aircraft formations, the operations room combined information such as weather, squadron activities and information from other sector stations to play a key role in the world’s first integrated air defence system.
With its UV protective qualities, approved Perspex® acrylic fabricators Inplas chose Perspex® VA as the ideal protection for the map and its inks to ensure it doesn’t degrade over time. Built using 5 sheets of 5mm thick acrylic, the protective panels were laser cut to mirror the shape of the maps and supporting table.
Trevor Smith, Managing Director of Inplas Fabrications said, “We couldn’t have been prouder to be involved in this special project. Visiting the site and working within the deep, dark rooms really brought home the fascinating history just a few miles from our factory. It has been a privilege to work with Hillingdon Council as they refurbish the site and we encourage anyone to visit this fascinating snapshot of time.”
As well as revamping the bunker, Hillingdon Council is investing nearly £6 million towards creating a new high-tech visitor and exhibition centre adjacent to the bunker that will re-open to the public on Friday 30 March (Good Friday).
To find out more about the unique projects Inplas work on, visit www.inplas.co.uk.
For information about The Battle of Britain Bunker and visitor centre visit: https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/bunker.