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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 April 2007, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Nuclear bunker offered for sale
The bunker is accessed through a small hatch

House hunters in Perthshire are being offered the chance to buy a nuclear bunker set in the grounds of an Edwardian mansion.

Former owner Gwyn Grogan commissioned the shelter 34 years ago at the height of the Cold War to protect his family against a potential Russian invasion.

Birnie House in Alyth is being sold along with an adjoining cottage and gardens for offers over 675,000.

The shelter is 12ft underground and cost 35,000 to build in 1973.

Located at the bottom of the gardens, the bunker is one large room about 10 ft by 10 ft, and can be reached via a hatch before descending a long and dark sloping stairwell.

The nuclear bunker is certainly a quirky feature of the property and is a very important piece of social history
Robert McCulloch
Strutt and Parker

For the past 19 years a groundsman has kept it in perfect working order with electrics, a fan which works off a cycle for fresh air and a condenser to purify water.

Mrs Grogan, the wife of the late Gwyn Grogan, who died at the age of 84 last year, admitted she had only visited the shelter once.

She said: "I remember my husband showing it to me many years ago but it was terrifying and I never wanted to go in it again."

Despite its lack of use, Mrs Grogan said the shelter had become a talking point among locals and had even attracted the odd tourist.

She added: "My husband took it very seriously, so it wasn't used as a place to potter about or for children to play and has lain empty and unused since it was built.

Birnie House
The bunker at Birnie House was built in 1973

"I do remember him buying gas masks and powdered food to put in it but that has all been cleared out."

Birnie House, which is believed to have been built in the early 1900s, was received as a wedding present from the Invergordon Estate by a member of Grogan's family.

Estate agents Strutt and Parker said they expected the sale to generate "considerable interest".

Agent, Robert McCulloch, said: "The nuclear bunker is certainly a quirky feature of the property and is a very important piece of social history.

"It could be preserved as it is but can also be used as a great storage facility."

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