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Description: Fulton Block, RAF Cosford
Date Listed: 1 December 2005
English Heritage Building ID: 1407287
OS Grid Reference: SJ7930205777
OS Grid Coordinates: 379302, 305776
Latitude/Longitude: 52.6493, -2.3074
Combined barracks block, institute and mess. 1938-9, to 1937 designs by J H Binge, architect to the Air Ministry's Directorate of Works and Buildings (drawing no. 7656-7660/37). Cavity brick construction with flat concrete roof (now covered in sheet metal) and concrete detail.
PLAN: central block, with ground-floor dining room and first-floor institute, flanked by barracks blocks surrounding internal service road aligned on the main W-E axis of the building. There are four projecting blocks to each side of the central block, on both the S and N elevations.
EXTERIOR: Moderne style. Steel casements throughout. Imposing central block lit by a row of tall windows recessed within and articulated by pilaster buttresses rising to a plain entablature and with slightly projecting end entrance bays, these having double-leaf doors with decorative over lights each set in blank stone surround with wreathed roundel in tympanum recessed and framed by semi-circular arch. 3-storey accommodation blocks, each end curved on plan. Between each block is a tall entrance bay with a tall stair light and canopied door with pilasters breaking forward from flanking balconies to walkways, the string and blocking courses being continued through to the accommodation blocks. 3-storey E and W elevations, with continuous canopy over ground-floor doors and windows, each dominated by projecting central block with massive moulded arch to inner service roads.
HISTORY: Funded by Lady Fulton, the widow of one of the pioneers of military aviation in Britain, this immense block was designed in 1937 as permanent accommodation for 1,000 men, with associated mess rooms, institute and administrative offices. Built to the designs of one of the Air Ministry design team, J. H. Binge, it is easily the most architecturally advanced of the buildings built for the RAF in the inter-war period, borrowing in terms of its planning from contemporary mansion flat designs and comparable in terms of its unified planning and treatment to some of the more explicitly 'Moderne' buildings erected for foreign air forces - notably Italy - in this period. The post-1934 expansion of the RAF placed such huge demands on technical training that the facilities provided at Halton (the site chosen and developed by Trenchard in 1919 as one of the foundations for the establishment of a technology-based service) were considered as inadequate for the organisations needs. Planning was initiated in 1937 for a large new training establishment for 4,000 personnel at Cosford, which opened as No 2 School of Technical Training in August 1938. During the Second World War over 70,000 engine and airframe mechanics and armourers attended courses at Cosford.
(Plans of 1937 at RAF Cosford; A E Joyner, RAF Cosford. The War Years, (n.d.), Cosford)
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.