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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Churchill's hidden war rooms open
Winston Churchill
Churchill's room was austere
Hidden underground chambers which kept Winston Churchill's family and staff safe from bombing during World War II are being revealed to the public.

Churchill's kitchen and dining room, bedrooms for his wife Clementine and war cabinet minister Brendon Bracken, the Chiefs of Staff Map Room and the private detectives' room will open on Tuesday.

They have been restored at a cost of 13.5m to show the domestic side of Britain's wartime prime minister.

Previously, visitors to the Cabinet War Rooms, which lie beneath Whitehall in central London, have only been able to see one third of the vast reinforced underground complex.

Among those areas already open are Churchill's bedroom, the Cabinet Room and the Transatlantic Telephone Room where Churchill could call Washington.

Plans for 6m Churchill Museum

But working from wartime photographs, Cabinet War Rooms' staff have used original furniture and fittings to restore the rooms as they were when they were created in 1941.

The war rooms want to double the number of pupils and students visiting the war rooms over the next five years and have created new education and conference facilities.

Its next 6m project will be to build the Churchill Museum - the first national museum dedicated to the wartime prime minister - which is expected to open on the 40th anniversary of his death in January 2005.

BBC London's Julie Gatenby
"Churchill hated being underground, there were no flushing toilets or a good stock of Claret"

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