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HISTORY PROJECT: Stanmore’s Bentley Priory Museum secures lottery support for RAF project

 Published on: 1st May 2020   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

Bentley Priory Museum in Stanmore have secured a £68,500 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a new project.

Defending Britain from Nazi & Nuclear Threat, will record and share the memories of RAF and WAAF personnel who worked in the Top Secret Bunker at RAF Bentley Priory, focusing on the key historical periods of the Battle of Britain in 1940 and the Cold War from 1945 to 1991.

The underground bunker was completed in haste in 1940 as Nazi Germany threatened to invade Britain and was developed for use throughout the Cold War period as political tensions remained high.

Personnel within the bunker at Bentley Priory during both historical periods were responsible for identifying enemy encroachment of British airspace and co-ordinating the RAF’s response.

After nearly 70 years of internationally important work, the bunker closed in 2008 when the RAF left Bentley Priory.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will be launched this year to mark the 80th Anniversary year of the Battle of Britain and the 30th Anniversary of the reunification of Germany in 1990, which symbolises the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

The project will make these important memories accessible through both a temporary and permanent exhibition, resources for schools and family activities during the school holidays. 

The Museum’s Chair of Trustees, Air Marshal Cliff Spink said : “We are very grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for giving us the opportunity to capture the fascinating history of the Bunker at Bentley Priory. During these challenging times it was a great lift to us all to receive such positive news. Importantly, it will provide the opportunity for our wonderful volunteers to continue their vital contribution to the museum by researching the history of the Bunker safely from home.”

Volunteers will be critical to the project – supporting research, carrying out oral history interviews and co-curating the temporary exhibition. Initially these tasks can all be carried out remotely. 

If you are interested in volunteering on the project, please contact the Museum for more details collectionsproject@bentleypriorymuseum.org.uk

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