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Fort Nelson

Secret wartime Britain

Colin Philpott
5th June - 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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In the age of Twitter, Instagram and WikiLeaks, it is difficult to imagine a world where people kept quiet about state secrets. However, during the Second World War, thousands of apparently secret sites across Britain were turned over to the war effort, either requisitioned, repurposed or built from scratch with their precise role often concealed even from those living close by.

Author Colin Philpott, has studied the stories of these factories, command centres, spying bases, decoy airfields, battle rehearsal sites, research facilities, interrogation centres, and other wartime locations for his third book ‘Secret Wartime Britain‘ published last autumn.

Colin explains how secret they really were. Why did so many manage to stay in the shadows? How was it that, even many years after 1945, the true role of many of these places remained unknown for decades? His book reveals how few people broke special wartime regulations designed to protect secret information during the Second World War and also contains the testimonies of people who worked at secret sites.

There will be an opportunity to explore the Fort’s tunnels before the talk between 6 pm & 7 pm.


7 pm – 9 pm


£5 including refreshments


Colin Philpott

About the speaker

Colin was Director of the National Media Museum (now the National Science and Media Museum) in Bradford from 2004 to 2012. Previously, he worked for the BBC for 25 years as a reporter, producer and editor. Since 2012 he’s concentrated on writing alongside consultancy work and chairing and interviewing at literature festivals.

His first book ‘A Place in History‘, looking at the impact on places where news stories happened in 20th-century Britain, was published in 2012. His drama, ‘The Last Match‘, about the last day of peace before the Second World War, was first performed in 2014. His second book ‘Relics of the Reich‘, published in 2016, examined how Germany has dealt with the architectural legacy of the Nazis.