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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 10:36 GMT
Churchill's 'hidden' rooms revealed
Cabinet War Rooms
Less than half of the rooms are currently on show
The secret rooms where Winston Churchill and his cabinet slept during the war will be opened to the public in a 7.5m project.

An eleventh-hour grant of 2m from the National Lottery has made possible the renovation which will treble the size of the existing Cabinet War Rooms in London.

The first phase will renovate the Churchill family's private quarters and other living areas of the underground bunker.

A museum will then be built which will be dedicated to the life and work of the wartime Prime Minister.

Momentous decisions

Once finished the public will be able to see rooms hidden for nearly 60 years.

Phil Reed, director of Cabinet War Rooms, said: "These inauspicious, yet historically important rooms, have been hidden from the public for too long.

"This is where the country's leading figures ate, slept, sought refuge from the wartime bombs and made momentous decisions which affected the course of the war."

Winston Churchill
A museum dedicated to Churchill will be opened
The refurbishment work starts in the week marking the 127th anniversary of Churchill's birth.

It is the culmination of a six-year campaign to open up the full extent of the Cabinet War Rooms.

Many original features remain, including bunks slept in by personnel during air raids, signs, sinks, electronic equipment and furniture.

Phase one of the work will renovate the Churchill family's private quarters, including Mrs Churchill's bedroom, private dining room and underground kitchen.

It is hoped the rooms will open to the public in spring 2003.

Phase two, costing a further 5 million, will see the design and fit-out of a museum dedicated to the life and work of Churchill.

The museum near St James's Park is scheduled to open in 2005 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of VE Day and the 40th anniversary of Churchill's death.

Mr Reed added: "Every corridor and room is steeped in history.

"I am delighted that people whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents lived through the war will now have an opportunity to experience something of those times."


Click here to go to London
See also:

15 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
BBC launches Churchill drama
09 Oct 01 | UK Politics
War cabinets of the past
04 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Churchill 'greatest PM of 20th Century'
05 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Churchill 'wanted to abandon de Gaulle'
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