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TWO LAMELLA HANGARS, SITE B

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.

Name: TWO LAMELLA HANGARS, SITE B

List entry Number: 1393311

Location

TWO LAMELLA HANGARS, SITE B

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

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cotswold

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Rodmarton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 07-May-2010

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: 500696

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.

History

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

Details

RODMARTON

1064/0/10017 KEMBLE BUSINESS PARK 07-MAY-10 TWO LAMELLA HANGARS, SITE B

GV II Two aircraft storage hangars. 1938/9, to Air Ministry Directorate of Works and Buildings drawing No 6953/36. Pressed steel framework, concrete roof on pressed metal sheeting, coated profiled steel sheet roof covering; in-situ concrete end walls.

PLAN: The hangars are identical, set in near-parallel, and just to the N of the west end of the main runway. Each a plain rectangle, internal dimensions 300 x 167 x 36ft maximum height (91.4 x 50.8 x 11.1m); they form a low parabolic vault springing from ground level, and at each end pairs of wide doors within the diaphragm walls. At the outer end of each are two small annexes, one with boiler room, flanking the door opening. Small doors in the end walls give access for personnel.

EXTERIOR: A broad expanse of corrugated sheeting covering the low profile parabolas is completely unbroken. The W end in each hangar has a wide central opening containing a high panel with central roller-shutter door, below a range of 4:5:4 vertical lights. To each side is an external annexe with monopitch roof corrugated sheeting, that to the left taller than the other, and formerly the boiler house. The inner end to each has a plain pair of steel doors to a near-square opening; inside one of the doors to the N-most shed is a cast panel recording: 'Lamella, by Horseley and Thomas Pigott. Pat 243363'. The parapets to the end walls are flared out at the bottom, and a continuous wide concrete trough-gutter runs at ground level along each side.

INTERIOR: The floor is in smooth finished concrete. The structure is a diagonal lattice of pressed steel members, in a small grid; these carry steel sheeting as formwork to the poured concrete roofing. A series of longitudinal steel members, running the full length of the hangar, is suspended below the structure, at the centre and to the sides.

HISTORY: The Lamella hangar is a form developed in Germany in 1929, and originally built in Britain under licence by the Horseley Bridge Engineering Company. The structure can be realised in concrete, timber, or steel, but steel was always used in the RAF examples. It utilises the extra structural strength generated by the larger cross-section of a diagonal member, plus the ease of prefabrication of relatively small steel units easily assembled on site. The first British arched hangar featuring this form of construction was erected for Henleys (1928) Ltd. at Heston Airport between May and June 1930. Taking just five weeks to complete, it had a maximum span of 82ft, a length of 149ft and a door opening 62ft wide with a clear height of 18ft.

Another version had an arched roof with wall plates carried on girders supported by stanchions. Three hangars were supplied in this form, one at Liverpool Airport, is now a Grade II* listed building. The others were built as part of the Cunliffe-Owen aircraft factory at Southampton Airport. Lamella Construction took the form of a large net-like framework of shallow channel-section standard steel pressings with ends bent to the correct angle, and bolted together in pairs (a right and left to a left and right). This formed a diamond-shaped web and a lattice arch when assembled with others. Tooling for the manufacture of Lamella roof components was installed in the factory at Tipton. No provision was made for tails-up storage so aircraft were simply packed together.

There are two further Lamella hangars at Kemble (Site C, qv), but the remaining hangars, although externally similar, use other means of construction. Originally the roofs were covered with earth finished in turf; this provided some extra protection against bomb blast, but also created excellent camouflage from above. Turf-covered versions may be seen at Hullavington airfield (Wiltshire), about 10km S from Kemble.

Kemble, by virtue of its range of five different hangar types including structurally advanced ones of parabolic form, is the most outstanding and strongly representative of the 24 Aircraft Storage Units planned and built by the Air Ministry for the storage of vital reserve aircraft in the period 1936-1940. The ASUs were all administered by Maintenance Command and were sited to the W of the principal bomber stations and fighter belt, and their function was to receive and store aircraft before they were made ready to be sent to operational bases: some, such as Hullavington to the south, were grafted onto existing Flying Training Schools. Apart from a cluster of three hangars on the Main Site, the hangars were planned in pairs around the flying field. The planners of ASUs thus exercised, for the first time, the principle of 'dispersal' in the planning of military airfield landscapes as opposed to fabric, the planning of domestic and technical sites having integrated these requirements from the 1920s. The dispersal of aircraft around the flying field, instead of being concentrated in the hangars, provided further protection against air attack (particularly crucial for the vital supplies of reserve aircraft to front line units) and had a profound influence on airfield layout during the Second World War. This principle also had an effect on hangar design in ASUs, in the use of both concrete and roofs of parabolic form - the latter originally turfed over for additional protection - which housed aircraft in the 'tails-up' position hung from their roofs. The Type D hangar, which combines concrete construction with bow-string trusses, owes its origin to developments in French engineering (as for example at the historic Montaudron airfield at Toulouse). The genesis of the parabolic Lamella type of hangar is the Lamellendach technique, produced by Junkers in Germany from the early 1920s, which utilised a structural grid of short and small-scale steel sections in a diagonal grid in order to create a parabolic vault. This type of hangar was built in England under licence from 1929, and there are four at Kemble. In addition there are two variants in construction, using the same overall form and dimensions but developed differently: Type L uses close-spaced concrete ribs formed in pressed steel members and Type E uses ribs of small-section steel to support concrete slabs curved to the arc of the frame. These steel and concrete rib hangars most clearly relate to contemporary experimentation elsewhere in Europe, especially Pierre Luigi Nervi's Lamella-derived forms built for the Italian air force, the Zeiss-Dwidag concrete-ribbed vaults used for side-opening hangars in Germany and the concrete hangars developed for the French air force from the 1920s. All these hangar buildings stretched existing engineering technology in order to clear wide spans, forming the basis for developments in the post-war period. The existence of such a variety of these types of hangars at Kemble, also relating to an advanced type airfield landscape, is certainly unique in a British context, and no such group survives in France or Germany.

RAF Kemble was officially opened in June 1938, but construction continued into 1939 and a Station HQ was not formed until October 1940, under 41 Maintenance Group. By November over 900 personnel were involved, many of them civilians, staffing the Maintenance Unit: most were accommodated off-site, and others were in hutted units, mostly in Kemble Wood to the E. The daily amount of aircraft stored in October was 330, from antiquated Hawker Harts to Bristol Beauforts, Blenheims and Hurricanes. Two runways were built between September 1941 and April 1942, the main one being extended in 1943 in order to accept heavy bombers and accompanied by the building of new taxiways. The station survived aerial attack in 1940/1, it going on to play an important role in the readiness for D-Day with work on Horsa gliders and Typhoons in early 1944.

SOURCES: The Royal Air Force Builds for War: A History of Design and Construction in the RAF, 1935-1945, (1956, republished by HMSO 1997), 290-302 Operations Record Book, Public Record Office AIR 28/218 Ashworth, C: Action Stations 5 (Military Stations of the South-West) (1982), 115-7 Allen, J S: 'A short history of 'Lamella' construction', Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 71 (1999-2000), 1-29

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The pair of Lamella hangars at Site B on Kemble Airfield, constructed in 1938-9, are designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: these structures are part of a significant evolution in the design of hangars in the period, and are well-preserved examples * Historic interest: Kemble, by virtue of its range of five different hangar types including structurally-advanced ones of parabolic form, is the most outstanding and strongly representative of the 24 Aircraft Storage Units planned and built by the Air Ministry for the storage of vital reserve aircraft in the period 1936-1940 * Group value: the Lamella hangars form part of a wider complex with the other contemporary hangar groups dispersed around the airfield, reflecting a development in the strategic planning of military airfields in the period

Selected Sources

Books and journals
The Royal Air Force Builds for War: A History of Design and Construction in the RAF, 1935-1945, (1956), 290-302
Ashworth, C, Action Stations 5: Military Stations of the South-West, (1982), 115-117
Allen, J S , 'Transactions of the Newcomen Society' in A Short History of Lamella Construction, (1999-2000), 1-29

National Grid Reference: ST 94871 96659, ST 94896 96543

Map

Map
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