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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 16:28 GMT
Churchill's 'secret' rooms unveiled
Winston Churchill
Churchill's room was austere
Underground rooms specially furnished for Winston Churchill and his wife during World War II are being opened to the public for the first time.

The private quarters form part of the Cabinet War Rooms, which lie beneath Whitehall in central London.

The fortified complex allowed Churchill to mastermind the war effort from relative safety.

The rooms have been renovated at a cost of 7.5m and will open to the public in April.

The private quarters include a kitchen, a bedroom for Clementine Churchill, a separate room for Sir Winston and a private dining room.

Clementine Churchill's bedroom has been reproduced with flowery fabrics and comfortable arm chair.

Underground kitchen
The kitchen has been recreated with 1940s equipment
Her husband's austere room with its plain bed and desk was used extensively for working through papers.

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

Others have been recreated using old photographs to make sure the look is authentic.

Churchill's grand-daughter Celia Sandys has been to see the rooms where he grandparents spent so much time.

Prime minister's work

"My grandparents would be somewhat amazed to think that what probably was to them a very inconvenient place to go, was becoming such a place of pilgrimage 60 years later."

A grant of 2m from the National Lottery made possible the renovation which will treble the size of the existing Cabinet War Rooms.

Phase two of the refurbishment will see the building of a 5m museum dedicated to the life and work of the wartime prime minister.

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.

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