Langham Airfield Dome Trainer, Norfolk

With our funding and technical support, a determined and enthusiastic group of volunteers have turned a ruin into an exciting and educational visitor attraction.

Where: North Norfolk

Years on register: 1998-2014

A war time simulator for anti-aircraft gunners

Langham Dome was built in 1942 to train anti-aircraft gunners. Inside, the small concrete dome is painted white, forming a screen onto which moving pictures of aircraft were projected. A mock gun, with a yellow beam and realistic sound effects was used by the trainee to aim and shoot at the targets. The trainer could see the beam, but the trainee, who wore yellow tinted goggles, could not.

Rusting steel and crumbling concrete

After the closure of the airfield, the dome deteriorated steadily. The concrete had weakened and no longer gave protection to the reinforcing steelwork, which had begun to rust and expand, breaking the concrete and allowing further water penetration.

Langham Dome in 2011 before restoration
Langham Dome in 2011 before restoration © Historic England

Volunteers achieve technically difficult rescue

The dome was gifted to the North Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust in 2008 and together with the Friends of Langham Dome (FoLD), established in 2010, the trust proceeded to work towards the restoration of the dome. The repair and preservation of rusting ferro-concrete structures is a highly technical and specialist business, but it has been successfully achieved at Langham Dome to an exemplary standard. In addition to Historic England grants, funding also came from the HLF, the Coastal Sustainability Fund, North Norfolk District Council, Norfolk County Council, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Paul Bassham Trust. The dome is now open as an educational and memorial centre.

Exhibition inside Langham Dome
Exhibition inside the dome © Historic England DP165218

How we made a difference

Historic England was not only a major funder of the project but was also able to provide technical and specialist assistance on what was a very unusual project.

This is an inspirational project that has brought to life a most unusual and fascinating piece of Second World War heritage and saved it for future generations.

Simon Buteux, Principal Adviser for Heritage at Risk, East of England
People viewing exhibits inside Langham Dome
Exhibition inside the Dome © Historic England DP165223

Step inside and journey back in time

Seventy years after the end of World War II, a visit to the dome (a scheduled monument) offers a unique opportunity to journey back in time and experience what life was like for those who served at RAF Langham.

Man in wheelchair looking at mannequin dressed in Air Force uniform
© Historic England DP165217

Visit

Experience what life was like for people in the local area as they played their part in the defence of Britain.

  • Watch films narrated by Stephen Fry which tell the history of the dome and RAF Langham
  • Test your aim with an interactive ‘dummy’ training gun and one of the dome’s original target films
  • Play external table top games to find out more about military missions and daily life at RAF Langham
  • Explore an interactive model of the RAF Langham Airfield

Plan a visit to Langham Dome

People viewing the exhibition inside Langham Dome
People viewing the exhibition inside Langham Dome © Historic England DP165219

Get involved

Langham Dome is run by volunteers, and one way to get involved is to become a volunteer. All that’s needed is enthusiasm and the willingness to give two and a half hours once a week, or once or twice a month.

Another way to get involved is to become a Friend of the Dome. For an annual joining fee of £15 per person, Friends are entitled to free entry to the Langham Dome. They are also kept up-to-date with newsletters and are invited to the AGM event. For more information on these opportunities contact [email protected].

20 years of the Heritage at Risk Register

This year we are celebrating 20 years of the Heritage at Risk Register, Historic England’s tool for shining a light on the listed buildings and places in England that need most help. Looking back over the last 20 years, huge progress has been made in saving our heritage and giving it new uses.

See more of our top 20 heritage rescues

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