Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6534

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Vol cxlix No 16

pp. 321–354


Report of the Council on refurbishment of the Bunker as a collections storage facility for the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

The Council begs leave to report to the University as follows:

1. In this Report the Council is seeking approval for a refurbishment of the Bunker, a University-owned building located on Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge, to provide a facility for the storage and research of collections held by the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA).

2. The MAA’s reserve collection is currently stored at the West Cambridge site within the Atlas Building, which due to age is deteriorating. While it is not cost-effective fully to refurbish the Atlas Building, it requires frequent maintenance to avoid risk to the collections stored within, which are formally designated as of national and international significance.

3. An alternative site for storage of the MAA’s collections has been identified. The Cambridge ‘Bunker’ is a two-storey Grade II-listed structure built in the early 1950s to provide a War Room, with a 1960s extension constructed to house ministry offices located in the former government estate off Brooklands Avenue. The proposed internal works to the extension include the removal of the non-structural partition walls. The principle of the current design is to provide a system of specific storage on both the ground and first floors, mostly in the form of shelving, with specialised units to support and store unique pieces. There is also an area dedicated to a modest study facility to ensure the on-going accessibility for academic and research purposes as well as a loading/unpacking area with freezers for material quarantine, together with facilities (WC/kitchenette) to accommodate staff who will be working within the building. Minimal alterations are proposed in the older part of the Bunker, in line with the Grade II listing, to facilitate lighting, fire alarms, power and accessibility.

4. Museum collections require controlled ambient conditions to provide a stable environment to preserve, over the long term, a range of materials in a mixed collection of artefacts. The internal conditions of the facility have been developed in alignment with BSI PD54541 and the requirements of the Arts Council Government Indemnity Scheme.2

5. The original building of the Bunker has a gross internal area of 798m2; the extension provides a further 2,627m2. A Concept Case for the project was approved by the Planning and Resources Committee on 5 December 2018. A Full Case will be prepared in due course. The estimated cost of the project is up to £10.5M, with funding expected to come from the Capital Fund. It is hoped to submit a planning application during March 2019 so that work can begin no later than September 2019.

6. Drawings of the proposed scheme are displayed for the information of the University in the Schools Arcade and are reproduced online at A plan showing the location of the Bunker is shown below.

7.The Council recommends:

I.That subject to the Full Case being approved by the Planning and Resources Committee, approval is given for the works to be undertaken within the Bunker to enable its use as a collection storage facility by the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

II.That the Director of Estate Strategy be authorised to apply for detailed planning approval in due course.

III.That the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Planning be authorised to accept a tender for the works, within the available funding, in due course.

21 January 2019

Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor

Jennifer Hirst

Michael Proctor

Sam Ainsworth

Nicholas Holmes

Sofia Ropek-Hewson

Evie Aspinall

Fiona Karet

Andrew Sanchez

R. Charles

Christopher Kelly

Jason Scott-Warren

Stephen J. Cowley

Mark Lewisohn

Sara Weller

Anthony Freeling

Marcel Llavero Pasquina

Mark Wormald

Nicholas Gay

Jeremy Morris

Jocelyn Wyburd

David Greenaway

Richard Penty


  • 1BSI PD5454:2012 – British Standard Guide for the storage and exhibition of archival materials.

  • 2Arts Council GIS provides an alternative to the cost of commercial insurance which allows organisations to loan and display objects that might have been prohibited due to the high cost of insurance.

Location plan: The Bunker