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Light Anti-Aircraft gun emplacement for the former Thorp Arch Royal Ordnance Factory

A Grade II Listed Building in Thorp Arch, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.9145 / 53°54'52"N

Longitude: -1.3075 / 1°18'26"W

OS Eastings: 445587

OS Northings: 446706

OS Grid: SE455467

Mapcode National: GBR MR95.QH

Mapcode Global: WHDB1.WVLY

Entry Name: Light Anti-Aircraft gun emplacement for the former Thorp Arch Royal Ordnance Factory

Listing Date: 9 July 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1407624

Location: Walton, Leeds, LS23

County: Leeds

Civil Parish: Walton

Built-Up Area: Thorp Arch

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Lower Wharfe

Church of England Diocese: York

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Second World War Light Anti-Aircraft gun emplacement, circa 1941.


Brick and reinforced concrete, steel gun mounting.

Low, circular, brick walled emplacement nearly 5m in diameter with a flat concrete roof with a central hole nearly 1.5m in diameter through which the mounting for the gun projects. The steel gun mounting is fixed onto a concrete pedestal that rises from the floor of the emplacement. In operation the gunner stood on the pedestal, with spare ammunition stored beneath the concrete roof. Access to the ammunition store was via a low open doorway on the west side, protected by an outer, brick blast wall. There is also a second access: a very low hatchway, retaining its timber door, through the base of the emplacement's wall on the south east side.


Thorp Arch was constructed as a Royal Ordnance Filling Factory in 1940-41. This extensive factory was spread over 642 acres (nearly 260 ha) and employed 18,000 workers. Its roll was to assemble and to fill with explosive a wide range of ordnance from 20mm rounds, through to larger artillery shells and bombs. Although the factory's defence against aerial attack was mainly passive (for instance by the buildings being well dispersed) it was also provided with a small number of Light Anti-Aircraft guns to deter low level intruder attacks by enemy aircraft. The gun emplacement at SE 4559 4671 is the last surviving example at Thorp Arch and retains its Motley Stork (also spelt Motley Stalk) mounting which, in this case, is believed to have been for a 20mm Polsten Cannon (a gun used principally by RAF fighters, the ammunition for which was produced at Thorp Arch).

Reasons for Listing

The Thorp Arch Light Anti-Aircraft gun emplacement at SE45594671 is listed grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity of survival: although large numbers of LAA guns were emplaced during the Second World War, very few still survive because of their relatively insubstantial construction, this example is particularly well preserved.
* Mounting: the Motley Stork mounting is an exceptionally rare survival.
* ROF Thorp Arch: as a marker for the historic interest of the Royal Ordnance Factory.

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