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Standby Generator House

A Grade II Listed Building in Threehammer Common, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7271 / 52°43'37"N

Longitude: 1.4691 / 1°28'8"E

OS Eastings: 634345

OS Northings: 320032

OS Grid: TG343200

Mapcode National: GBR XJ5.07R

Mapcode Global: WHMT4.JQT5

Entry Name: Standby Generator House

Listing Date: 22 February 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393189

English Heritage Legacy ID: 495512

Location: Neatishead, North Norfolk, Norfolk, NR12

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk

Civil Parish: Neatishead

Built-Up Area: Threehammer Common

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Neatishead St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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Listing Text


22-FEB-08 Standby Generator House

Standby generator house, dating to the early 1950s, built to resemble a simple chapel.

EXTERIOR: It comprises a rectangular, double height generator hall with a two-storey offset header tower attached to the south-east, all built in brick. The roofs over the hall and tower are steeply pitched and pantiled. The main roof sweeps down to form a catslide over a small porch like projection off the south corner. The main entrance elevation faces north-east, with access to the generator hall through tall double doors. Above are two air-tile vents. To the left of the doors is a projecting brick flue, square in plan. Attached to the main building and to the left of the flue is the two-storey belfry-like tower which has a pair of tall wooden planked doors on the ground-floor and a large opening with double doors at first-floor level. The south-east elevation of the generator hall has double wooden doors on the ground-floor with a nine pane Crittall window above. The north-west elevation has two similar Crittall windows at high level. The gable end has two rows of air-tile vents. There are further vents in the side walls to provide ventilation to the generator hall.

INTERIOR: The lofty generator hall is divided into four bays by massive reinforced concrete beams which support a gantry crane complete with lifting tackle. The roof above is ceiled in at collar level but appears to be of simple coupled rafter construction. The louvered covers survive over most of the air-tile vents, as does the pipe outlet which fed exhaust fumes from the generator into the flue. The generator and transformers have been removed.
To the south of the generator house is a rectangular concrete bund enclosed by a low brick wall where the diesel tanks would have been positioned.

HISTORY: RAF Neatishead opened in June 1941 as a Ground Control Intercept (GCI) Station and was retained after the end of the war. In the early 1950s, as part of the Rotor scheme to refurbish Britain's radar defences, the R3 underground operations block was built, accessed by staircase to the rear of a guardroom disguised as a bungalow. On the surface, new protected radar plinths were constructed. In addition to the main technical site, a number of dispersed components were built, including wireless transmitter and receiver stations and a standby generator house spread in an arc at a distance of about 1.6km from the centre. The standby generator house was built in nearby Neatishead village and was designed to resemble a simple chapel when viewed from a distance. It is almost identical to the one at Kelvedon Hatch but is roofed with local pantiles.

Cocroft, W D, 2001, Cold War Monuments: an assessment by the Monuments Protection Programme, English Heritage
Cocroft, W D & Thomas, R J C, Cold War. Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989, English Heritage

Summary of Importance:
RAF Neatishead is unique in being able to represent the changes to Britain's air defence policy throughout the Cold War until the present day. Many of the buildings on site are of special interest. They form a significant group of little altered contemporary structures which clearly reflect their function and Neatishead's place as the longest continuously occupied radar station in Britain, and probably the world. The standby generator house is a rare example of an early 1950s Rotor period radar generator building, constructed in the style of a simple chapel with attached belfry. This design both allowed the building to blend into the countryside and camouflaged its true function.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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