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RAF Leuchars, Domestic Side, Old Sergeants' Mess, Building 8

A Category C Listed Building in Leuchars, Fife

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Latitude: 56.3791 / 56°22'44"N

Longitude: -2.882 / 2°52'55"W

OS Eastings: 345626

OS Northings: 721107

OS Grid: NO456211

Mapcode National: GBR 2N.20GK

Mapcode Global: WH7RR.PXSK

Entry Name: RAF Leuchars, Domestic Side, Old Sergeants' Mess, Building 8

Listing Date: 8 February 2010

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400360

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51421

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Leuchars

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Tay Bridgehead

Parish: Leuchars

Traditional County: Fife

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Probably A Bulloch (see NOTES), circa 1935. Single storey 15-bay Georgian Revival former Sergeants' Mess situated at entrance to domestic side. Probably originally U-plan now with later additions to rear. Cream harled brick with moulded round-arched and keystoned doorpieces. Base course. Projecting cills. Central advanced pedimented 3-bay section with oculus window in apex and advanced 3-bay end bays. Part-glazed 2-leaf timber entrance doors in 6th and 11th bays with semicircular decoratively glazed fanlights above. Non-traditional glazing. Near ridge stack to right. Grey slate.

INTERIOR: simple, functional and modernised.

Statement of Interest

The former Sergeants' Mess was designed in 1934 and constructed in 1935, replacing a WWI mess building on the same site. At this time the Air Ministry designated the airfield to be one of six of strategic importance and a large programme of expansion was begun. It is situated at the entrance to the domestic side of the airfield and is a significant streetscape feature visible from the public road which divides the domestic and technical sides. Nothwithstanding the loss of its original glazing, its principal elevation remains substantially intact.

Information from AiX suggests that there are similar examples at both RAF Duxford and Northolt, but although similar in plan-form the Leuchars example is much reduced in terms of scale and also predates both these examples.

As Leuchars came under the Air Ministry at this time as a Flight Training School (FTS), it is probable that the architect was A Bulloch, the Air Ministry architect at this time. The Neo-Georgian style of the building is typical of his work during this period.

RAF Leuchars is remarkable for its collection of airfield structures detailing aviation and military history from the First World War until the Cold War period and beyond. Within Scotland it is one of the best-preserved airfields and in UK terms it is considered to be within the ten most important sites. It is one of the earliest aerodromes in Scotland with balloon flights taking place from a nearby site in 1911 and the airfield itself became a permanent establishment by 1918. It was used as a training base in the 1920s and the site was chosen by the War Office for its major expansion of RAF Stations in the 1930s. A number of hangars and other buildings were added in 1938-9 and World War II acted as a catalyst for yet more development. Unusually, the airfield continued in use after the Second World War and jet fighters were introduced in 1950. The construction of NATO Cold War defences in the early 1980s was further significant addition to the structures on the site. Buildings dating from all major stages of the airfield's development remain at Leuchars. It is currently the Royal Air Force's principal operational fighter station.

The site covers 371 hectares and has an east-west and northeast-southwest runway layout with perimeter taxiways and the typical arrangement of a domestic side and a technical side separated by a road.

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