Pair of Second World War Pillboxes, Stokesley Road

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1469588
Date first listed:
22-Apr-2020
Location Description:
Pair of Second World War Type 23 concrete pillboxes, situated to either side of Stokesley Road: one at NZ 47339 06958 is situated to the south of Stokesley Road, under tree cover in the middle of the field, close to a Public Right of Way, and the other at NZ 47201 07262, is to the north of Stokesley Road, close to western hedge line of the field, backing onto the gardens of the housing on Middleton Road.

Map

Ordnance survey map of Pair of Second World War Pillboxes, Stokesley Road
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1469588.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 01-Jun-2020 at 09:51:58.

Location

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

Location Description:
Pair of Second World War Type 23 concrete pillboxes, situated to either side of Stokesley Road: one at NZ 47339 06958 is situated to the south of Stokesley Road, under tree cover in the middle of the field, close to a Public Right of Way, and the other at NZ 47201 07262, is to the north of Stokesley Road, close to western hedge line of the field, backing onto the gardens of the housing on Middleton Road.
County:
North Yorkshire
District:
Hambleton (District Authority)
Parish:
Rudby
County:
North Yorkshire
District:
Hambleton (District Authority)
Parish:
Skutterskelfe
National Grid Reference:
NZ4720107262, NZ4733906958

Summary

Pair of pillboxes, Type 23, constructed in 1940.

Reasons for Designation

This pair of Second World War Pillboxes are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* an integral part of the Northern Command 59 Division Reserve Stop Line, the only inland stop line built in North Yorkshire, which ran for a total of 85km (53 miles), forming an important defensive line against the threat of German invasion; * built to an unusual Northern Command adaption of the FW3/23 design, the form of which differs having wide machine gun embrasures and being semi-sunken; * they retain their essential character and functional legibility, enhancing the broader understanding of the stop line as a whole; * an important component of a defended locality known as the Hutton Rudby ‘nodal point’, strategically placed to cover a bridging point at Hutton Bridge across the River Leven.

Historic interest:

* as an extant manifestation of the precautions taken to repel an invading force during the early stages of the Second World War.

Group value:

* the pair of pillboxes benefit from a functional group value with the Grade II-listed C18, Hutton Bridge.

History

Pillboxes are small fortified structures, constructed to strengthen field defences, allowing their occupants to fire their weapons protected from enemy small arms fire and to some extent, artillery fire. They were built during both World Wars to resist invasion, but most were built as part of British 1940-41 anti-invasion preparations, with over 14,000 having been constructed nationally by October 1940. They were placed at strategic locations such as river crossings, or along the coast, or inland ‘stop lines’ that were intended to halt, or slow down the progress of an invader. Some were designed for rifles, some for light or medium machine guns, while others more unusually, housed artillery pieces. The majority of these pillboxes were built to one of a number of 'standard' designs, issued by the War Office's, Directorate of Fortifications and Works, in June and July 1940. The design of the pillboxes at Rudby, was a Northern Command adaption of one of these drawings: FW3/23 (Type 23), and examples of this variant are only found in North Yorkshire, and the north-east of England. Unlike the standard FW3/23 drawing, which had small narrow embrasures and elbow rests for riflemen, the Northern Command adaption had three wide embrasures with a concrete shelf, intended for a tripod mounted Vickers or Browning medium machine gun. Most Type 23 pillboxes were built at ground-level on concrete raft foundations; the examples at Rudby differ, as they are semi-sunken, a feature that was intended to reduce their conspicuousness and to provide greater protection for the occupants.

These pillboxes were built in 1940 as an integral part of Northern Command’s 59 Division Reserve Stop Line, the only inland stop line that was fully developed in North Yorkshire and part of a national scheme of such defensive lines. It ran from Malton in the south, to Egglescliffe, near Yarm, and northwards towards Peterlee, County Durham. The stop line used natural features such as rivers, embankments, cuttings, dense woodland, and valleys as obstacles, and fortifications were only built where the natural landscape failed or where there were bridging points; like the listed Grade II C18 Hutton Bridge (National Heritage List for England (NHLE): 1150659 & 1315453), which spans the River Leven at Hutton Rudby. Hutton Rudby became a 'nodal point'/anti-tank island, with a range of defences covering the approaches of the bridge, including the pair of pillboxes at Rudby. Given their exposed positions, it is highly likely that these pillboxes would have been camouflaged to resemble a non-military type of structure, or may even have been disguised as hayricks as was sometimes done, but there is now no trace of how this was done.

Details

Two Second World War pillboxes, Type 23, constructed in 1940.

MATERIALS: reinforced concrete.

PLAN: rectangular-plan.

EXTERIOR: not inspected (information from other sources). The two pillboxes are situated approximately 335m apart, to either side of Stokesley Road. The northern example is aligned north-east to south-west, while the southern pillbox is aligned north-west to south-east; this allowed for interlocking fields of sustained machine gun fire across Stokesley Road and towards the two T-junctions on Middleton Road. The pillboxes are identical semi-sunken, 4.34 x 2.13m rectangular-plan structures, with 38cm thick walls and a 15cm thick reinforced concrete roof over the front chamber. The front wall has a single, wide gun embrasure raised just above ground-level, and the two side walls, each have a similar embrasure that is off-set towards the front wall; the rear wall is blind.

INTERIOR: not inspected (information from other sources). Each pillbox is divided into two chambers, accessed by climbing over the rear wall into an open, 1.37m square and deep chamber, which has a concrete floor with a slender concrete post for mounting a light anti-aircraft machine-gun (LAAMG). Four concrete steps descend against the left-hand side wall, to a low narrow door that allows access into a 1.83m square chamber, with a flat concrete ceiling, and wide embrasures in the front and side walls. The walls were shuttered using timber planks that have left vertical witness marks. A concrete shelf, with a rear lip that spans the width of the chamber against the front wall, would have allowed the occupants to fire a tripod mounted machine-gun through any of the three embrasures. The southern pillbox is partially infilled.

Sources

Books and journals
Osbourne, Mike, Pillboxes of Britain and Ireland, (2008), 162 - 163
Wills, H, Pillboxes: A study of UK defences 1940, (1985), 17, 29
Websites
Archaeology Data Service - Defence of Britain Archive, Anti-invasion Results, accessed 25 February 2020 from https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/dob/ai_r.cfm?REDSQUIDARCHIVES_33886a9e-bcf3-49cd-a0c1-427c6613377a_0
Other
59 Division letter, 29/21/G, 2 August 1940. WO 166/734, The National Archives, Kew
GHQ Home Forces, Analysis of pillbox construction, 8 October 1940, WO 199/48, The National Archives, Kew
Twentieth Century Fortifications in England, Volume II, Anti-invasion defences of WWII, 1996, C S Dobinson

Legal

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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].

Back
to top