Record Details

NHER Number:1891
Type of record:Monument
Name:Langham airfield and dome trainer

Summary

Langham airfield was constructed during World War Two. The structures within the airfield consist of several large aircraft hangars, an underground Battle Headquarters (NHER 32435) and a dome trainer, one of only three examples surviving in the country. The dome was used for training anti-aircraft gunners, with films of enemy aircraft projected onto the walls for target practice. A large number of Nissen huts and military accommodation buildings are located to the south and east of the main airfield.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 989 419
Map Sheet:TF94SE
Parish:BINHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK
LANGHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Dome alone scheduled.
Airfield in use 1941 to 1944, 1944 to 1957 as target practice base latterly. Most runways remain, some covered with battery farms, and some original buildings.
Visited by E. Rose (NAU) 24 August 1987.

Context 2 at 9953 4180.
Concrete dome, 12m diameter with 2 x 2m entrance and small ventilation window; used for gunnery training with projected films on interior.
Not an astrodome despite the popular name.
One of three remaining in Britain, others are Shoreham-by-sea in Sussex and Kidlington, Oxfordshire.
Scheduled 1986.
E. Rose, (NAU) 29 May 1987.

See NHER 32435 for underground headquarters.

At TF 9965 4175 (S side of road) is the gatepost for the barrier used to close the road when the airfield was operational.
E. Rose (NLA), 22 October 2003.

October 2002. Norfolk NMP.
The World War Two airfield and the associated buildings and camps are visible on the 1945 RAF aerial photographs (S1-2). The chronological scope of the NMP mapping is to 1945 and therefore only military structures present on the 1945 RAF aerial photographs were mapped. Three large hangars, approximately 80m by 40m, are visible at TF 9861 4235, TF 9925 4180 and TF 9942 4188. There are also several groups of buildings, both stone built and also more temporary structures. The largest concentration of buildings is at TF 9934 4172. The dome trainer is part of this group and is located at TF 9953 4180 and is 15m in diameter. To the east of this is site 32435, at TF 9965 4180, the site of an underground Battle Headquarters. A very similar site is visible at TF 9996 4236. The concrete cupola of a possible underground headquarters is apparent, surrounded by several indistinguishable areas of concrete. The whole site is surrounded by a circular road, which is linked to the rest of airfield road infrastructure. It is possible that this represents another set of underground structures. Although it may be unlikely to have two battle headquarters within one airfield, especially as they are both located within the eastern end of the airfield.
To the south east of the main airfield area are several clusters of military huts. The majority has curved profiles and may be nissens. These groups of huts are likely to represent the temporary camps and accommodation for the soldiers. The three areas of huts are located at TG 0012 4168, TG 0014 4128 and a linear group is centred on TF 9982 4138. The huts are situated along the edges of the field and in the tree line. Further structures are just visible in gaps through the trees.
Several structures, which are outliers to the main site, have been included within the main site. At TF 9873 4115 is a structure which may be a mast associated with airfield. This is linked to the site may have surfaced road or trackway. Another group of outlying features consist of a polygonal pillbox at TF 9912 4089. This is linked by a track to two other square structures at TF 9915 4099 and TF 9914 4099. These are all likely to be related to the defence and approach to the airfield. These structures are only visible on the 1945 aerial photographs, indicating that they went out of use quite quickly after the war.
At TF 9996 4188 is another possible removed military structure. In 1945 all that is visible is a parchmark of a possible square structure 19m across. The walls appear to be up to 3m wide. Within the walls are two rectangular parched areas; one is 6.5m by 4m and the other is 2m square. It is highly probable that the parchmarks are caused by the recent location of stone or concrete structures. However it is also possible that the features predate the airfield and all the military structures.
S. Massey (NMP), 7 March 2003.

Following a period of dereliction the dome has been repaired at some period before this date, and fitted with a roller shutter door.
E. Rose (NLA), 6 June 2007.

For further information on the operational history of the airfield and photographs of remaining buildings, see (S1).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 13 January 2010.

For a musical experiment in the Dome, see (S2).
D. Gurney (HES), 1 February 2012.

Funding has been put forward for the Langham Dome to be turned into an educational centre for the public; there will also be displays about Second World War aircrews, the aircrafts and squadrons which also served at the former RAF Langham.
See (S3) for further information.
M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 15 April 2013.

February 2014. It has been ascertained that the dome was originally concrete coloured, not black, which makes good sense from the point of view of camouflage etc (S4).
D. Gurney (HES), 26 February 2014.

Monument Types

  • STRUCTURE (Unknown date)
  • DOME TRAINER (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY AIRFIELD (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY CAMP (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • UNDERGROUND MILITARY HEADQUARTERS (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF9841 L-N; TF9842 B-F, G-H.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1985. Domes on dromes.. 31 May.
---Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
---Newspaper Article: Royal Air Force News. 1982. Drome dome.. 10 - 23 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Norfolk's dumpling dome rises to challenge.. 25 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Preserving a blast from the past.. 23 June 2010.
---Newspaper Article: The Times. 2011. 'Save this forgotten wartime landmark'.. 27 August.
---Photograph: 1992. Photographic record of Langham Airdrome Trainer. Print.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
<S1>Monograph: McKenzie, R.. 2004. Ghost Fields of Norfolk. pp 54-57.
<S2>Website: Nick Fraglen. 2011. Hive.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2013. Dome's history to be revealed.. 27 March.
<S4>Verbal communication: Malcolm Crowder. 2014. Verbal communication.

Related records

32435Parent of: World War Two battle headquarters, Langham Airfield (Monument)
27774Related to: Site of possible World War Two radar station (Monument)
27772Related to: Sites of World War Two military camps (Monument)
27773Related to: Sites of World War Two military camps (Monument)
27775Related to: World War Two pillbox (Monument)

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