World War Two pillbox overlooking A62 (Huddersfield Road), Bleak Hey Nook, Standedge


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
World War 2 Pillbox at National Grid Reference SE 00708 09457 (postcode OL3 5LU) overlooking the A62 Huddersfield Road, Standedge, Delph, Saddleworth, approximately 10 metres from the junction with New Standedge Road (A670).


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Location Description:
World War 2 Pillbox at National Grid Reference SE 00708 09457 (postcode OL3 5LU) overlooking the A62 Huddersfield Road, Standedge, Delph, Saddleworth, approximately 10 metres from the junction with New Standedge Road (A670).
Oldham (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Pillbox, constructed around 1940-1941.

Reasons for Designation

A Second World War pillbox, overlooking the A62, Standedge near Delph, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * For its unusual design and construction with dry stone exterior walls and turfed roof giving the appearance of an agricultural vernacular building, camouflaging its real purpose.

Historic interest: * Constructed in the Second World War as part of the precautions taken to repel an invading force; * An important component of a defended locality, strategically placed to cover a defile containing the A62, a vital road link at that time between Huddersfield and Manchester on either side of the Pennines.


Pillboxes are small fortified structures constructed as part of British anti-invasion preparations, being placed at strategic locations such as river crossings, or along coastal and inland anti-invasion ‘stop lines’ intended to slow down the progress of an attacking force. Some were designed for rifles or light machine guns; others, more unusually, housed larger artillery. The earliest examples of pillboxes date from the First World War, when a small number were constructed along the coast, but the concept was developed in the early stages of the Second World War, when many thousands were built, though only a limited proportion survive. The majority of these are standard designs which were issued in June and July 1940 by the War Office Directorate of Fortifications and Works. There were around 12 standard designs formed from reinforced concrete, but basic designs were also adapted to local circumstances and available building materials. Additionally there were completely individual designs, some of which were disguised to resemble a quite different non-military structure.

This Second World War pillbox was built in 1940 or 1941 overlooking the A62, linking Huddersfield with Manchester. The pillbox is an individual design, rather than one of the standard, reinforced concrete designs. It is well camouflaged with dry stone walls cladding the exterior and a turf-covered roof, blending in with the abutting dry stone wall and the field to its rear. It did not form part of a ‘stop line’, but was part of a defended locality, covering a defile (a narrow pass between mountains or hills), and the important A62 road route across Saddleworth Moor from Huddersfield to Manchester.


Pillbox, constructed around 1940-1941.

MATERIALS: orange brick, reinforced concrete, millstone grit stone.

PLAN: the pillbox is rectangular with three embrasures in the south wall, overlooking the road, two embrasures in the north wall and two embrasures in each of the side walls, with a doorway in the west wall.

EXTERIOR: the pillbox stands on a hillside on the north side of a rough track linking Huddersfield Road on the lower, south, side with Standedge Foot Road on the upper, north side. It projects forward from a dry stone wall bounding the field on the north side of the track. The structure is clad in roughly-coursed dry stone walling with a grassed earth covering to the roof.

The south (front) wall has three narrow-splayed embrasures suitable for rifles or light machine guns. The west side wall has two similar embrasures and a low doorway with a concrete lintel and an overgrown narrow entrance passage cut into the hillside in a westerly direction. The north (rear) wall has two similar embrasures and the east side wall also has two similar embrasures.

INTERIOR: the interior has a concrete floor and brick walls which are thicker beneath the embrasures and form a continuous narrow, brick shelf. Above the embrasures is a deep, concrete wall plate on which concrete beams are placed running from front to rear to form the roof.


Defence of Britain Archive: Defence of Britain Database Anti-invasion record:S0015885, accessed 18 September 2019 from


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

End of official listing

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