Pillbox, 1940-41, camouflaged as a garden wall.
Reasons for Designation
The pillbox at Brampton Road, 1940-41, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* an exemplary example of a Second World War pillbox camouflaged as a civilian building, in this case a handsome garden wall;
* part of Western Command Stop Line 18, whose defensive intention to guard potential enemy egress from the River Eden is well illustrated;
* an individually designed pillbox using local red sandstone along with more regular brick and concrete;
* the structure retains its essential character and functional legibility.
* as an extant manifestation of the precautions taken to repel an invading force during the early stages of the Second World War.
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 pillbox was built in 1940 or 1941 as part of the Western Command Stop Line 18 which ran from Pooley Bridge to near Brampton. The pillbox is an individual design rather than one of the standard, reinforced concrete designs. It has been camouflaged as part of a stone-built garden wall. It is situated to protect the exit road from Rickerby Park including access from the River Eden below, and is thought to have been associated with a former road block. The pillbox is included in a 1949 drawing of Brampton Road, Stanwix by Brian Fawcett, demonstrating that it remains unchanged.
MATERIALS: local red sandstone and red brick; concrete roof and resting shelf.
PLAN: irregular plan of three straight facets with a curvilinear south and east face.
EXTERIOR: situated on an elevated site in the corner of Barn Close garden at the junction of Well Lane and Brampton Road. It faces south-east towards the exit from Rickerby Park and the River Eden below. It is of non-standard form with a flat roof that retains its roof-top camouflage vegetation. The curvilinear south-east face is constructed of red sandstone blocks with a string course, to match the garden wall to either side, but standing taller; it has three square embrasures. At the north-east corner there is a tall entrance with a wooden boarded door, and a stone threshold and lintel. This door gives access to a set of concealed steps with flanking brick walls that lead up to the rear entrance. The remaining faces are of red brick construction in a variant English Garden Wall bond. The thick rear wall retains a tree-trunk scar, and has an entrance at its western end: this has an angled left jamb and is fitted with a metal, barred door. A protective brick blast wall projects northwards to the right side of the entrance.
INTERIOR: the roof is of shuttered concrete and all walls are unpainted; the three embrasures are visible as splayed horizontal slits. The south-east stone constructed face is strengthened by the addition of a structure comprising nine courses of concrete sand bags; its location immediately below a pair of embrasures indicates that it also served as a resting shelf for small arms.