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Recording 20 th century defences in Essex Paul Gilman HER Manager Essex County Council.

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Presentation on theme: "Recording 20 th century defences in Essex Paul Gilman HER Manager Essex County Council."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recording 20 th century defences in Essex Paul Gilman HER Manager Essex County Council

2 Strategic Location of Essex Proximity to continent Close to London, on north bank of Thames Strategic anchorage and port at Harwich, used in Hundred Years War and many times afterwards Long coastline with flat topography making landing easy Although mud flats and marshes make some stretches more difficult Same areas fortfied at different periods

3 Projects National Mapping Project in Essex Thematic surveys: – WW1 and WW2 airfields Recording of individual sites –RCHME –ECC Field Archaeology Unit 20 th Century Defences Survey –Defence Lines –Thematic surveys such as anti-aircraft batteries –Area-based survey with local groups

4 Sources of Information ‘Wartime Contraventions’ and associated military maps Local knowledge RAF photography from late 1940s Henry Wills’ book on pillboxes Colin Dobinson’s reports Defence of Britain project and volunteers

5 Funding sources Essex County Council District Councils English Heritage/RCHME (for National Mapping Programme) Local Heritage Initiative Local Trusts –Essex Environment Trust –Essex Heritage Trust –Hervey Benham Trust Local Volunteers (in Kind)

6 World War One Airfields in Essex

7 World War Two Airfields in Essex

8 Cold War sites in Essex


10 Pillboxes recorded to date


12 Grading and assessment 0Nothing remaining, minimal if any evidence surviving *Some remains, but ruined/derelict **Single or multiple buildings or structures, not well preserved ***Original buildings, structures or features, largely complete or of specific interest. Good example of type, or of good group value ****Rare or important defence type, particularly if historical provenance is known. Possibly maintained, may have associated group value

13 Chappel Viaduct Case Study Part of Eastern Command Line Shows development of defensive thinking –Stop Lines –Later move to nodal defence Local knowledge helped interpretation Good mix of types of defence, one of best in Essex Good survival of defences Complex has been scheduled





18 Recent survey: Maldon District Funded by Maldon District Council, ECC Filling in the gaps in the District Checking survival of previously-recorded sites Relatively remote part of the county –Close to coast –Much of coast difficult for landing due to mud flats –Airfield complex at Bradwell –Some interesting and unusual sites survive Report to follow this year

19 Half-buried pillbox at Tillingham

20 Tillingham Radar Station and Bradwell Bombing range

21 Southminster ‘Blockhouse’







28 Bradwell Lodge (Alan Sorrell)

29 Bradwell Lodge today




33 Looking for Fido



36 Fido in operation (Alan Sorrell)

37 Local knowledge and information

38 Lagergrenze boundary Auslauf outlet Stallung stabling Kammer clothing room. Trockenraum drying room Waschraum wash room Tischtennisraum table tennis Kohle coal Sanitater hospital. sick quarters Kuche kitchen Duschraum showers Jauchegrube cess pit


40 The Writing on the Wall: A cautionary tale from Rivenhall Airfield



43 The Missouri Mule II

44 Thanks to Fred!

45 20 th -century defences survey reports

46 Some issues for discussion Defining the resource Priorities for recording Approaches to indexing on the HER National typologies and local variations Consistency in use of thesauri, causing problems when using on-line resources, e.g. Pastscape Involvement of local groups Tapping to local knowledge and memories while these are available Research priorities – strategies and tactics? New uses


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