Hidden deep in the Cheshire countryside, the bunker remained a secret for some half a century

Inside the secret bunker and tower protecting Greater Manchester from nuclear attack in the Cold War

Photographer Phil Taylor’s striking images reveal the extraordinary stories behind the sites that would have protected and governed the city-region had the unthinkable happened during the Cold War.

The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union forced governments to confront the apocalyptic and horrific possibility of nuclear conflict between the two superpowers.

Secret infrastructure was built which would have been used had nuclear weapons been deployed.

And some of what was constructed around Greater Manchester - or would have helped to lead and run the area - can still be seen today.

Photographer Phil Taylor has been taking shots of two sites that were part of this Cold War network which remained hidden from view for decades.

Had nuclear war broken out, Greater Manchester, like much of the North West, would have been run from the bunker at Hack Green.

Deep in the Cheshire countryside, the location remained secret for decades.

Immaculately preserved, it is now open to the general public as a museum and transports visitors back to the dark and uncertain time of the Cold War.

A second Cold War landmark can be found in the shape of a tower overlooking the M62 in Saddleworth which drivers will have been past countless times without realising its original function.

In the 1950s and ‘60s the British government, fearing nuclear war, set about building a communications network between major cities using microwave links in case physical phone lines were destroyed.

In total 14 concrete towers were built, which included one at Heaton Park in Manchester.

They were backed up by secretly-built underground telephone exchanges in Birmingham, Manchester and London. The Manchester one, known as Guardian, has tunnels that reach out to Ardwick and and Salford, and connect smaller exchanges in the city.

The masts, of which the one at Saddleworth was one, would have been used to send the famous four-minute warning to a network of sirens across the country, sent from bunkers like the one at Hack Green.

The only hint drivers heading over the Pennines would have had of what the tower was for would have been when they noticed the interference on their car radios as they went past.

The system was decommissioned in the 1990s, being replaced by satellite links and fibre optic connections. The microwave 'horn' aerials have now been removed with the Saddleworth mast now being used for mobile telephone transmitters.

And some of what was constructed around Greater Manchester - or would have helped to lead and run the area - can still be seen today.

Page 2 of 2