Royal Observer Corps underground monitoring post

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1457493

Date first listed: 17-Sep-2018

Statutory Address: ROC underground monitoring post and concrete perimeter fence posts, around 235m to the west of Wykin Lane, Stoke Golding, Leicestershire

Map

Ordnance survey map of Royal Observer Corps underground monitoring post
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Location

Statutory Address: ROC underground monitoring post and concrete perimeter fence posts, around 235m to the west of Wykin Lane, Stoke Golding, Leicestershire

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

County: Leicestershire

District: Hinckley and Bosworth (District Authority)

Parish: Stoke Golding

National Grid Reference: SP3986696674

Summary

ROC underground monitoring post built in 1960.

Reasons for Designation

The ROC underground monitoring post, built in 1960, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a well preserved example surviving in its original form externally and retaining some internal original features;

* it is a rare survivor as, following the stand down of the ROC in 1991, monitoring posts were generally returned to adjacent landowners, with many being levelled or infilled;

Historic interest:

* as part of the network of subterranean posts designed to monitor radioactive fallout following a nuclear attack, it embodies the nation's attempt at countering the threat of nuclear attack during the Cold War.

History

The United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation (UKWMO) underground post at Stoke Golding was opened in May 1960 when the main role of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) became nuclear reporting. The origins of the ROC can be traced back to the First World War but it did not become firmly established under the auspices of the Air Ministry until 1928. Ten years later the Midland Area of the Corps was formed, and posts to observe and report aerial activity were set up throughout the region. By the outbreak of the Second World War a comprehensive system of posts existed. The brick-built, above-ground monitoring post at Stoke Golding was constructed in 1937 and was known as George 2, part of 5 Group based in Coventry. The post was manned 24 hours a day throughout the war by local volunteers who included teenagers prior to call up and retired people. The Corp was granted the prefix ‘Royal’ in 1941.

The ROC was stood down in May 1945 but was reactivated in 1947. The posts continued much as before but from 1956 onwards the ROC became increasingly involved in the system for reporting on the bearing and strength of any bomb bursts and the plotting of any fallout following a nuclear attack. To enable them to carry out this task, posts were redesigned and rebuilt underground and new equipment installed. The practice of aircraft reporting diminished, the overground posts eventually disappeared and the sole function of the Corps became its radio-active fallout reporting role. In 1991 all groups and their allied posts were stood down.

The brick-built above ground monitoring post at Stoke Golding was demolished in the late 1980s but was rebuilt in replica on the original foundations (not of special interest) in 2015. The underground post was constructed in 1960 and has recently been sympathetically restored (2010s). The current owner built up the ground to make it level, edging the south and west sides with brick salvaged from the demolished monitoring post and paving the area immediately surrounding the access shaft.

Details

ROC underground monitoring post built in 1960.

MATERIALS: reinforced concrete.

PLAN: the post has a rectangular plan and is located in a field around 235m to the west of Wykin Lane.

EXTERIOR: the post is situated beneath a shallow grassy mound that is rectangular in shape. Entry is gained via a concrete access shaft with a louvered vent. Approximately 4m to the east is a smaller ventilation shaft, also with a louvered vent.

INTERIOR: the post is an example of a standard design consisting of an underground chamber measuring 19ft × 8ft 6in × 7ft 6in (5.8m × 2.6m × 2.3m). It has a 15ft (4.5m) deep, 2ft (0.6m) square entrance shaft giving access via a metal ladder to the monitoring room lined in original polystyrene tiles and a much smaller room containing a chemical Elsan latrine which is still in-situ. Underneath the carpet, the floors are concrete.

Many of the original fixtures, fittings and furnishings remain intact. Along the north wall are fixed a two-door cupboard, above which a radio set and bomb power indicator are mounted on the wall; and a table, upon which rests two loud speaker telephones (not fixed). The original metal-framed two-tier bunk beds are positioned against the east wall but are not fixed. Above them is a small blast door to cover the air vents in case of an emergency. A replica desk stands against the south wall. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the post is set within a fenced enclosure, measuring approximately 19m by 10m, of which the concrete posts are original.

The above-ground, brick-built monitoring post located immediately to the south-west is of modest interest as a 2015 replica of the 1937 original and does not have special interest.

Sources

Books and journals
Bonser, Roy, Aviation in Leicestershire and Rutland, (2001)
Cocroft, W D, Thomas, R J C, Cold War - Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989, (2003)

End of official listing