Record Details

NHER Number:58817
Type of record:Building
Name:Bomber control tower

Summary

A Very Heavy Bomber air traffic Control Tower, built in 1945 and extended in the late 20th century.
RAF West Raynham was officially opened in 1939 and was one of only five airfields in the country to be converted to accommodate Very Heavy bombers at the end of World War Two. This three-storey control tower was constructed on a rectangular plan, in accordance with the standard Ministry of Defence design, and includes a Visual Control Room (VCR) at the top of the tower. Surviving equipment in the interior includes a Pneumatic Lamsom tube plant (a vacuum pump and pipe system for delivering messages around the building), telephone exchange gear, the airfield lighting control desk, and the Controller's desk in the VCR.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 8472 2454
Map Sheet:TF82SW
Parish:RAYNHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

June 2012. Listed. Grade II.
Listing Description (S1):
A Very Heavy Bomber air traffic Control Tower, built in 1945 and extended in the late C20.
PLAN: Rectangular, built in accordance with Ministry of Defence standard design (294/45).
EXTERIOR: A three-storey control tower, with a glazed, Visual Control Room (VCR) of steel construction above. The original crittall casement windows in unaltered openings remain throughout. The east elevation faces the runway, and has a balcony with metal balustrade at the second-floor wrapping around the north and south elevation. The VCR is located above with a metal balustrade around the parapet. The original fire station, with blocked openings, and night flying equipment store is attached to the south. A later C20, five bay, fire station is attached on the airfield side. Additional structures associated with the control tower include the station square to the east, although the lettering is no longer apparent, and the meteorological enclosure to the south-east.
INTERIOR: The main entrance is at the rear of the building, which gives access to a small lobby leading to the ground-floor rooms and staircase with metal balustrade. The interior layout is largely unaltered, conforming to the prescribed design, although some modern stud partitions have been inserted on the second floor, without removing the originals. Of particular note is the remaining equipment including a Pneumatic Lamsom tube plant, a vacuum pump and pipe system for delivering messages around the building. In addition the telephone exchange gear survives on ground floor, as does the airfield lighting control desk and Controller's desk in the VCR. The VCR is accessed by the original ladder and remains intact, although requires maintenance.
HISTORY (abbreviated):
Construction of RAF West Raynham commenced in 1936, as part of the RAF expansion scheme, and officially opened in April 1939.
Towards the end of WWII, the base was converted to accommodate Very Heavy Bombers (VHBs), one of only five airfields in the country to be modified for this use. This necessitated a variety of alterations including the construction of a new Air Traffic Control building (ATC).
Between 1926 and 1965 there have been ten different designs of Watch Office and Control Towers for RAF Bomber stations. The VHB ATC was designed at the end of the war in Europe. The control towers had a standard design (294/45), accommodating the additional technical demands required for VHB air traffic control which included, for the first time, a Visual Control Room (VCR) at the top of the tower.
The ATC at West Raynham survives much as it was built. There have been some minor alterations, most notable of which is the construction of a new Fire Station, and the conversion of the original into additional crew rooms.
Compiled by H. Hamilton (HES), 23 May 2013.

Monument Types

  • CONTROL TOWER (World War Two to Modern - 1945 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

<S1>Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.

Related records

3685Related to: West Raynham airfield (Monument)
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