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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1334947



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

County: Surrey

District: Tandridge

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Caterham-on-the-Hill

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 10-Jan-2001

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 486852

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.



TQ 35 NW WHYTELEAFE HILL 303/2/10048 Kenley Aerodrome 10-JAN-01 (West side) Former Officers Mess at former RAF Kenley


Officers' mess. 1932 design by the Air Ministry's Directorate of Works and Buildings. Stretcher bond brick to cavity walls, concrete floors, slate roof on steel trusses. PLAN: a long, narrow principal range (for recreational and dining purposes) in 2 storeys, linked by colonnades to outer accommodation blocks placed at right angles and with kitchen and services to rear. EXTERIOR: Originally symmetrical front, with hipped roof and of 2 storeys in 13 bays. Each recessed bay is framed by pilasters rising to dentilled cornice and from stone cill course; rusticated corner pilasters; flat arches over transomed cross windows, with steel small paned lights, with tall stair window to right of porch. EXTERIOR: glazing-bar sashes (boarded) to brick voussiors and stone sub-sills. The parade ground front is symmetrical, with a recessed 5-bay centre having 12-pane above 16-pane sashes. Portland stone porch, with Tuscan columns in antis and balustraded parapet; panelled double doors in moulded surround. Portland stone bay window to right, with moulded cornice to plain parapet and 1:3:1 fenestration; that to left was destroyed after enemy action in August 1940. Similar fenestration and articulation to accommodation blocks, which have hipped roofs and 3-bay fronts and are linked by Portland stone Tuscan colonnades with balustraded parapets to the main range. INTERIOR: remodelled for office accommodation, the principal feature remaining being the wooden dog-leg staircase with turned balusters. HISTORY: The careful proportions of this building reflect the impact of Air Ministry consultation with the Royal Fine Arts Commission. In contrast to the Battle of Britain sector stations at Biggin Hill and Northolt, Kenley has lost most of its buildings but boasts the most complete fighter airfield associated with the Battle of Britain to have survived. A large part of Kenley Common, managed by the Corporation of London, was converted for use as an aerodrome for the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and enlarged through an Act of Parliament in 1939. The 800-yard runways and perimeter tracks completed in December 1939 (extended by a further 200 yards in 1943) and all 12 of the fighter pens under completion in April 1940 have survived: this is a uniquely important survival, and one that relates to a military action of world historical importance. At the end of March 1939 the Air Ministry had agreed to Sir Hugh Dowding?s proposals for all-weather runways and perimeter tracks for critical fighter bases prone to waterlogging, mostly those in 11 Group in the south east of England. In the following month it was agreed that fighter stations should have dispersals for 3 squadrons of 12 aircraft each, subsequent to which fighter pens with blast-shelter walls and internal air-raid shelters were erected on key fighter airfields: the designs, in which Dowding had taken a close interest since trials in August 1938, had already been established by Fighter Command Works. Despite the demolition of the perimeter pillboxes in 1984, the survival, character and importance of Kenley?s flying field as a uniquely well-preserved Battle of Britain site is thrown into sharper relief when it is realised that it was subject, on the 18th of August, to one of the most determined attacks by the Luftwaffe on a sector airfield, photographs of which - including an attack on a fighter pen - were afterwards printed in Der Adler magazine. During this raid, three personnel were killed and 3 hangars and several aircraft destroyed. 39 personnel were killed and 26 wounded on the 30th of August, raids on the following day damaging the operations block. Its scars can still be read in the form of post-war repair work to the officers mess, prominently sited on the west side of the aerodrome, and which now stands as the most impressive surviving building dating from the rebuilding of the station between 1931 and 1933. The last surviving hangar and the control tower were destroyed by fire in 1978, and the sector operations block was demolished in 1984. (Operations Record Book, PRO AIR 28/419, includes series of block plans showing completion of new airfield layout in late 1939; Peter Corbell, Kenley, in W.G. Ramsey (ed), The Battle of Britain Then and Now, (5th edition, London, 1989); Peter Flint, RAF Kenley. The Story of the Royal Airforce Station, 1917-74 (Lavenham, 1985); Alfred Price, Battle of Britain: The Hardest Day (London, 1979))

Listing NGR: TQ3323557695

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Flint, P, RAF Kenley: The Story of the Royal Airforce Station 1917-1974, (1985)
Price, A, Battle of Britain: The Hardest Day, (1979)
'Operations Record Book' in PRO AIR 28/419, ()
Corbell, P, 'The Battle of Britain Then and Now' in Kenley, (1989)

National Grid Reference: TQ3323557695


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End of official listing