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World War Two Observation Post

A Grade II Listed Building in Brassington, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.0941 / 53°5'38"N

Longitude: -1.6625 / 1°39'45"W

OS Eastings: 422695

OS Northings: 355259

OS Grid: SK226552

Mapcode National: GBR 59C.0HH

Mapcode Global: WHCDT.FHKC

Entry Name: World War Two Observation Post

Listing Date: 18 October 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1394693

English Heritage Legacy ID: 508449

Location: Brassington, Derbyshire Dales, Derbyshire, DE4

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

Civil Parish: Brassington

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Brassington St James

Church of England Diocese: Derby

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Listing Text


74/0/10002 World War Two Observation Post

World War II Royal Observer Corps (ROC) post, approximately 500 metres south of the village of Longcliffe, opened in 1943.

MATERIALS: red brick on a steep rock outcrop.

EXTERIOR: Rectangular in plan, it is a two-storey building approximately 3.5m high with steep external steps up to the upper floor. The aircraft observation area is open-topped and approximately 2m square, with evidence for the mounting of an instrument table in the centre. From the roof, two steps lead down to the crew room which is approximately 1.25m by 2m with a flat roof. There is a door into the lower room at the bottom of the stairs with a window in the opposite wall. There is an outside toilet block attached to the north wall.

HISTORY: Following the extensive bombing of London in 1915 and 1917 and the ensuing public outcry, a unified air defence system was set up under Major General Ashmore. In 1925 trials involving a network of observation posts linked by telephone were carried out in co-operation with the RAF to test a system for identifying and tracking enemy aircraft. The trials were so successful the Observer Corps were set up in the same year. Initially the network was confined to the Maidstone and Horsham areas but during the 1930's as the threat of war increased the Observer Corps system was extended to cover the whole of the British Isles. In 1935, an improved post instrument had been introduced and by 1938 there were about 1400 posts. Eighteen of these posts were in Derbyshire. When war was declared in 1939 the Observer Corps posts had been manned for two weeks. In 1941 the contribution made by the Observer Corps was formally recognised by the granting of the title Royal Observer Corps (ROC) by George VI who also became the first Air Commodore-in-Chief.

Following the end of World War II, the ROC had a brief period of stand-down before it was reactivated in 1947 in response to the increased tension with the Eastern Block. By the 1950's the threat of nuclear attack persuaded the Government to set up the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation (UKWMO). The Royal Observer Corps was given the job of collecting information on the locations of nuclear bombs, information on weapon sizes, fallout information, and basic weather information. In 1968 nearly 700 posts were closed.

The World War II Royal Observer Corps post at Brassington was opened in 1943 and was built to what became a standard RAF pattern. It became part of the 'Granite' system, a code for posts which were equipped with flares to warm friendly aircraft of high ground in poor visibility. The system is estimated to have prevented up to seven thousand accidents. It continued in use until 1964 when the main role of the ROC became nuclear reporting and the underground post which lies approximately 150m to the south east, came into use. The latter was decommissioned in 1991 when the ROC was finally stood down.

www.subterranea brittanica.org.uk, accessed 17 April 2010
Cocroft, Wayne 'Cold War Monuments: an assessment by the Monuments Protection Programme' English Heritage 2001.
Layne, Jon 'The Royal Observer Corps in Derbyshire'. Unpublished paper.

The World War II ROC observation tower at Brassington is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural Interest: an example of a standard functional design, yet of a unusual building type, which is an architectural representation of the changing threats to national security.
* Historical interest: The juxtaposition of the WWII ROC post with the adjacent UKWMO monitoring station reflects the continuity and change in the role of the ROC, and changes in the types, and levels, of potential threat on a national and international scale.
* Intactness: The building survives structurally intact.
* Group Value: The significance is enhanced by association with the adjacent UKWMO underground monitoring post.

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

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