Second World War anti-aircraft battery at Bowaters Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Thurrock (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 67867 77075

Reasons for Designation

Anti-aircraft batteries are small clusters of artillery dedicated to firing at aerial targets. They were constructed from the First World War to the 1950s, after which time missile batteries took over from artillery as fixed weaponry while anti-aircraft artillery became increasingly mobile. They were constructed in large numbers in the immediate pre and early Second World War periods in response to the threat of air attack. Many took the form of simple sandbagged emplacements which left no substantial remains when they were abandoned. Others took the form of concrete emplacements arranged around a command post, while the latest types of battery were fully automatic and included radar-guidance equipment. Artillery of 3.7 inch and 4.5 inch and later 5.25 inch calibre was the usual armament of these batteries. Anti-aircraft batteries were widely distributed around England, with a marked concentration in the South East around London. As a result of development pressure in the South East few have survived. The example at Bowaters Farm is the last surviving example of such batteries in this area of Essex. It forms the latest part of a series of important defensive installations at Coalhouse Point which illustrate the development of coastal defences from the Tudor period to the mid-20th century.


The monument includes eight concrete gun emplacements with their connecting roads and vehicle parks, magazine and command post. The battery forms two groups of anti-aircraft artillery. The earlier group comprises four octagonal emplacements of concrete covered by asphalt, which measure some 16m across. Two entrances are located on opposite sides of the emplacements and earthen banks protect their outer sides. Inside the emplacements, the ten bolts which fixed the guns to the ground survive, as do the ammunition lockers against the walls. Between the middle two emplacements is a rectangular magazine building some 12m long with five compartments for shells with different fuses. At the rear of the group is a larger building which formed a command post and which included height and range-finding equipment, although this no longer survives. This group housed 4.5 inch guns from mid-1940 to 1944. To the east is a second group of four emplacements, these examples comprising a deep circular pit lined with concrete, again measuring some 16m across, with an adjoining sunken engine room to the west or south-west. A gun turret, which no longer survives, capped the circular pit, and housed a 5.25 inch gun. This group superseded the 4.5 inch guns in 1944 and continued in use until after the war.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Smith, VT C, 'Coalhouse Fort Project' in Coalhouse Fort and the Artillery Defences at East Tilbury, (1985)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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