Grand Opening of The Bunker17th November 2022
Hatfield Mayor Councillor Barbara Fitzsimon in the presence of Chief Constable Charlie Hall and Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd. Local dignitaries included the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Sally Burton and the Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, David Williams.
Schoolchildren from Hatfield’s Countess Anne Primary School and Welwyn Garden City’s Swallow Dell Primary School also attended for a special look round The Bunker and they were presented with certificates, making them qualified ‘History Detectives’!
The idea for The Bunker was first encouraged in 2019 by Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Simon Mason who recognised that the historical significance of Hatfield Police Station (formerly the de Havilland Aircraft Company) needed highlighting – and that doing so could instil better community spirit amongst the police and public.
The Bunker (formerly a storage space) includes photos, historical items, original film footage, dioramas and models that tell the story of the building from its origins in 1933 as the Headquarters of the de Havilland Aircraft Company, through to its current use. There is an emphasis on hands-on learning for schools, and visitors will be able to handle historical artefacts from the war as well as some of the modern equipment used by the police.
Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Kash Hussain said: “The Bunker is an exciting initiative and we hope that it brings together the local community. I would like to give a special mention to PC Paddy Phelan and Police Support Volunteer Alistair Hodgson who volunteered countless hours of their free time making The Bunker what it is. They were also joined by Police Support Volunteer Debs Massey and Sergeant Alex Smedley. I would also like to say a huge thank you to the Hertfordshire Constabulary Sports and Social Club who generously donated to the initiative and supported it from its inception.”
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “I was thrilled to attend today and I am confident that The Bunker will be a fantastic tool for engaging with the public, especially local schoolchildren. The museum feeds into the constabulary’s Prevention First approach to policing whereby we tackle issues before they become problems. By instilling trust at an early age, we hope that children will grow up with the understanding that their local police are always there to help them.”