Britain’s first Cold War Nuclear Attack Warning Station at Jodrell Bank

The Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire in the UK played a significant secret role during the Cold War. It was established in 1945 by Bernard Lovell, a radio astronomer at the university, to investigate cosmic rays after his work on radar in the Second World War.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron!

I was given a tour of the non-public areas by Tim O’Brien, a Professor of Astrophysics and an Associate Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at The University of Manchester.

He reveals some intriguing details of the site’s Cold War roles including being Britain’s first nuclear attack early warning station and its recently revealed SIGINT (signals intelligence) collaboration with GCHQ, the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters.

Even more surprisingly Tim also reveals how Soviet Scientists also worked at the site and the story of how the Soviets attempted to get Bernard Lovell to defect during a visit to the Soviet Union.

« of 2 »

The fight to preserve Cold War history continues and via a simple monthly donation, you will give me the ammunition to continue to preserve Cold War history. You’ll become part of our community, get ad-free episodes, and get a sought-after CWC coaster as a thank you and you’ll bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history.

Just go to

If a monthly contribution is not your cup of tea, We also welcome one-off donations via the same link.

If you can’t wait for next week’s episode, visit our Facebook discussion group where guests and listeners continue the Cold War Conversation.