Wessex Archaeology’s Bob Davis and Grace Flood are currently carrying out historic building recording of a 20th century Civil Defence Corps underground bunker in Harnham, Salisbury, prior to its redevelopment as a youth music and education facility – The Sound Emporium. Although disused for many years, the bunker is very well-preserved. 
Historic maps show that the bunker was built some time between 1939 and 1952 on the site of a chalk quarry, and it is hoped that the on-going research will shed more light into its origins. The Civil Defence Corps was created in 1948 in response to the threat of nuclear attack and the onset of the Cold War. The bunker operated as the Salisbury Urban District Control Centre between September 1963 and 1968 when the Corps was stood down; it replaced an earlier control centre in the basement of the Council House at Bourne Hill, Salisbury. 
There is little to see above ground apart from concrete ventilation shafts and an emergency escape hatch. The bunker, which is constructed from cast reinforced concrete, is accessed via a long inclined ramp down to an entrance lobby that was used as a decontamination area – complete with a shower cubicle. This area could be sealed off from the rest of the bunker by double gas tight steel doors which are still in situ
From the lobby a corridor gave access to the rest of the bunker. These included a communications room, a situation room and a control room from which a passage led to the vertical escape shaft with ladder. The bunker was self-contained, with a generator room and air filtration plant room providing clean air to the main rooms. In the event of a major incident, the occupants were prepared to spend long periods underground, with the provision of bunk beds for sleeping, a kitchen, and male and female toilets. 
The Harnham bunker provides an important insight into a period of our recent history, and the time of renewed threat, the Cold War, following the end of Second World War. The building recording work, commissioned by The Sound Emporium, is being undertaken to Historic England Level 2 standard at the request of the Assistant Archaeological Officer at Wiltshire Council. This involves a programme of documentary research, survey and digital photography to ensure that the structure of the bunker is adequately documented prior to the redevelopment.