Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Albanian bunkers of the Cold War

Apart from any other irritating diversions I’ve enjoyed recently, I ended up with too much spare time, and too little paint to watch drying.

This let me reflect on the gradual disappearance of items related to the Cold War, said to have ended in 1989 (but I think really just changed to something else (unfortunately MUCH less obvious and observable, but just as dangerous), together with many of the people I used to be able to exchange comments and observation with on the subject.

That process was so gradual I didn’t really notice it happening, but have realised that all those people seem to have disappeared completely – no contact responses, plus their emails and nearly all their related web sites have gone, or gone dormant (no changes for years, if they are still online/visible).

One aspect that came up in the past was how some countries really embraced nuclear bunkers.

Not the type we would recognise in the UK, or perhaps the US, Russia, or even Canada, and related to government or mass population, but smaller structures, more associated with individuals, or families.

I’d all but forgotten about them, and how pervasive they were where they appeared, and it was nice to see this article about a book of photographs showing what happened to those in one country.

Photographer Robert Hackman has created a photo book that documents the many bunkers that were built in Albania between 1975 and 1989 amid fears of the Cold War.

Estimated to number up to 500,000, some bunkers are in states of dereliction or have been converted into cafes, homes, restaurants, swimming pools, barns, bridges and water tanks.

The Albanian bunkers built in the midst of the Cold War

I’m not a great traveller (and I certainly don’t have the funds to support this sort of fun), but I’d kind of like to be able to go look for stuff like this today, just to see what survives.

Hopefully this sample pic will give you an idea of the size of these things.

Albanian Bunkers Pic Credit Robert Hackman

Albanian Bunkers Pic Credit Robert Hackman

Britain’s remains from World War I

This reminded me of an article run just after the turn of the year, which reminded me of an explore I actually almost managed to make some years ago.

I’d been making quite a few work-based trips down to London, which had to be completed by car as I was ‘hand-carrying’ some fairly sensitive electronic gear which could not be entrusted to a carrier, or even someone not technically competent in handling the kit.

As I had to do this at least twice per annum, and each trip was double (I had to take the stuff down there, then go collect it a few weeks later), so I always organised it for the end of the week, so didn’t have to return immediately.

While I managed to visit a few interesting places on the south coast (of England) I never quite managed to create an effective route to the south west coast, which is surprisingly further away from the Glasgow-London route than it looks.

Unfortunately, while working on the best route for this trip, that particular piece of work came to an end – killed by ‘modern’ electronics and the retiral of the old precision gear we used to use.

Denge Sound Mirrors

Denge Sound Mirrors

They’ve appeared on some TV programmes, but not recently, and seem to be forgotten again.

I’d liked to have seen them up close.

It’s also a shame they were rendered obsolete by RADAR, so never benefited from any development work.

They weren’t particularly successful or effective (apparently), but didn’t benefit from any electronics (at least not as far as I’m aware), being dependent on stethoscopes and tubes to carry the sound to an observer.

Being made of concrete didn’t help either, as it would have been hard to build many prototypes quickly, to determine the best design to develop.

That said, later pics can be found of portable devices (at least if you had a trailer) which were intended for use in the field, and had huge trumpets which were pointed skyward to listen for aircraft.

Maybe it’s just as well RADAR came along!

24/02/2019 - Posted by | Cold War, photography |

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