Humberside

Art exhibition opens at nuclear bunker near Withernsea

Art gallery inside a Cold War bunker
Image caption The Cold War bunker near Withernsea has opened its first art exhibition

Part of a nuclear bunker has been transformed into an art gallery and is hosting its first exhibition.

The former RAF base at Holmpton, near Withernsea, East Yorkshire, is more than 50ft below ground and was built to protect Britain during the Cold War.

Work by photographer Lee Karen Stow is on show in the computer hall.

Organisers said conditions inside were perfect to display art as the temperature stayed the same all year round.

Image caption A lot of the original features in the bunker have been kept intact including this computer hall and the signal panel below

"This area has remained largely empty since the bunker's radar role ended in 1974," said John Swift, who helps to run the site.

"We've worked around the existing history that remains, and with the support of local artist Larry Malkin we've recruited some excellent artistic talent to display their work, all of which features military, war, or underground themes.

"We've also opened up the mezzanine floor so visitors for the first time will be able to experience the whole of the early operations room/computer hall as it was left in 1974."

During the 1950s, the building, which contains a labyrinth of tunnels and was part of a network of bunkers, would issue early warnings of any nuclear attack.

Image caption Lee Karen Stow's work is the first to go on show inside the bunker. Other exhibiting artists include Paul Berriff and Martin Waters

Stow's photographs capture women during conflict in Vietnam and Sudan.

"I was shown this space and it just blew me away," said Stow.

"I think it just fits what I was wanting to say with the work and I can't think of a more fitting venue for it than 50ft underground in a former Cold War bunker in my own county."

The bunker was owned by the Royal Air Force and Ministry of Defence until 2014 when it was sold to a private owner.

Image caption The bunker was owned by the RAF and the Ministry of Defence between 1952 and 2014

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