Western Approaches Command Centre

Useful Information

Location: Rumford Street, Liverpool.
Open: All year Mon-Thu, Sat 10:30-16:30, last admission 15:30.
Fee: Adults GBP 6, Children GBP 4, Students GBP 4, Seniors GBP 4, Families GBP nn.
Groups (10+): Adults GBP 3.50.
Classification: SubterraneaWorld War II Bunkers
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Photography: Allowed
Address: Western Approaches Command Centre, Derby House, 1 Rumford Street, Liverpool L2 8SZ, Tel: +44-151-2272008, Fax: +44-151-2366913.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Western Approaches Command Centre was the underground headquarters for the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II. On exhibit are the RAF plotting room, the main operations room, the cypher room, the teleprinter room, and the telephone exchange. Displays illustrate daily life in the 'blitz'.

Western Approaches is the naval term for a rectangle in the Atlantic, west of the British Isles. This imaginary rectangle was the main route through which goods from all over the world could reach the Isles during the war, as the German submarines had blocked most traffic on the southern and eastern side. Liverpool became Britain's main convoy port. To manage this traffic, a naval command was necessary which made sure the ships were directed correctly. Damages by German military were minimized by redirecting them around the north of Ireland. Enemy convoys and wolf packs of submarines were monitored and ships warned.

This command centre was obviously of great strategic importance. As a result it was relocated in 1941 to a safer location, at the same time it was moved closer to the new routes. Derby House in Liverpool offered a basement, which was reinforced with a massive concrete protection. As a result it was called Citadel or Fortress. Royal Navy, Air Force and Royal Marines worked together in the Operations Room.

The historical war time bunker was restored and opened to the public. Historic photographs are on display and are proof that it has been reconstructed exactly how it was during World War II.