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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.