Record Details

NHER Number:25240
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cranwich Camp

Summary

Structures, roads and earthwork remains of the 1930s Cranwich Labour camp can be seen on aerial photographs and recent (2015) visualised lidar data. Cranwich camp is one of four labour camps set up in Breckland and was later repurposed as a military camp during the Second World War. The site consisted of a range of huts and support structures such as roads and a sewage works to the north west. Some of the huts were dismantled by the 1950s with the majority of the camp removed by 1994 with only earthworks relating to the former concrete tracks and a road visible on recent imagery. A metal detecting survey and watching brief were under taken in 2011 during forestry works. The survey recovered structural remains and small finds relating to the camp.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 774 942
Map Sheet:TL79SE
Parish:CRANWICH, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Labour camp 1935-1939. Erected by Ministry of Labour to house unemployed from northern England. Mostly Nissen huts, still standing but derelict.
E. Rose (NAU) 10 April 1989.

One of four labour camps set up in the Breckland area during the inter war years (the others were at West Tofts, High Lodge and Weeting). They were designed to 'harden' those who became unemployed as a result of the decline in industry, and to provide employment opportunities. Cranwich camp was purpose built, and run in a military style. Inmates did not attend voluntarily; their dole money was stopped if they refused to go. Work consisted of manual labour, such as road building, quarrying and forestry work.
By all accounts, conditions were tough and unpleasant, and there are accounts of occasional riots and mutiny. This social experiment came to an end with the onset of World War Two, when the employment situation was alleviated, and all the labour camps were reused for military purposes. Some of the original buildings may still exist, but they were generally replaced by military structures.
Information from (S1).
P. Aldridge (NLA), 14 September 2005.

February 2011. Metal-detecting Survey and Watching Brief.
Work undertaken during rotavation of the plots.
The survey recovered 58 small finds including three medieval coins, three military buttons, one Great Western Railway button and an implement for cleaning uniforms. The foundation of a concrete building slab was recorded, as well as traces of several other structures including Nissen huts. A post-medieval pottery fragment and later prehistoric flints were also recovered.
See report (S2) for further details.
S. Howard (HES), 21 December 2011.

January 2019. Breckland National Mapping Programme.
The Cranwich Labour Camp during its later repurposed Second World War military camp phase can be seen as earthworks on aerial photographs and recent (2015) visualised lidar data (S3-S8). The site consists of a range of huts and support structures such as roads, a possible lawn area or parade ground and a sewage works to the north west. Some of the huts are dismantled by the 1950s with the majority of the camp removed by 1994 with only earthworks relating to the former concrete tracks, hut platforms and a road visible on recent imagery (S7 and S8). The mapping shows the extent of area for the camp with S3-S6 showing the huts and the decline of the camp clearly.
J.Powell (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 31st January 2019.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD to 2100 AD)
  • HUT (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD? to 2100 AD?)
  • HUT PLATFORM (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD? to 2100 AD?)
  • MILITARY CAMP (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD to 2100 AD)
  • ROAD (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD to 2100 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1901 AD? to 2100 AD?)
  • HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • HUT PLATFORM (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY CAMP (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY SITE? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • ROAD (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SEWAGE WORKS (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds

  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • COIN (12th Century - 1158 AD to 1180 AD)
  • COIN (13th Century - 1250 AD to 1280 AD)
  • BUTTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUTTON (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SLING BULLET (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Protected Status

  • Higher Level Stewardship

Sources and further reading

---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2005. Life in the labour camp. 15 February.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Publication: Sussams, K.. 1996. The Breckland Archaeological Survey.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Brooks, R. 2011. Bare Ground Creation Plots, Cranwich Camp, Cranwich, Norfolk. Archaeological Monitoring Report. Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. 2011/114.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/106G/UK/369 RS 4071-4072 08-JUN-1945 (HEA Original Print).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/58/1870 V 008-009 05-SEP-1955 (HEA Original Print).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. OS/71387 V 214-215 21-JUL-1971 (HEA Original Print).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. OS/94503 V 142 23-SEP-1994 (HEA Original Print).
<S7>LIDAR Airborne Survey: Various. LIDAR Airborne Survey. LIDAR Weeting Forest Research 0.5m DTM 17-JUL-2015 (BNG Project, FC England, Fugro Geospatial).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. EARTH.GOOGLE.COM 27-SEP-2018 ACCESSED 31-JAN-2018 (Digital).

Related records

63076Related to: Possible Second World War ditches (Monument)
63285Related to: Possible Second World War feature (Monument)
63082Related to: Second World War military camp and associated training remains (Monument)
63069Related to: Undated earthwork mounds and pits (Monument)

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