Record Details

NHER Number:53122
Type of record:Building
Name:Control Tower, Robertson Barracks


The control tower at Swanton Morley Airfield was constructed between 1939 and 1940, and is still in use today as part of the Robertson Barracks.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 0038 1847
Map Sheet:TG01NW

Full description

December 2005. Listed Grade II.
Listing Description:
Control tower. 1939-40, to 1939 Watch Office with Meteorological Section design by Air Ministry's Directorate of Works. Brickwork walls, reinforced concrete floors and roof, with asphalt finish.
The building has a near-square plan on three floors with wide glazed balconies facing the flying field. The ground floor has the main watch office and pilots' room, forecast and teleprinters, and WCs; at first floor is the main control room backed by the meteorological and signals offices; the rear staircase gives access also to the glazed observation room at second floor level.
The original steel casements with horizontal glazing bars have been retained almost throughout, including those to the long observation frontages. At ground floor the front has three large 4-light windows separated by brick piers, under a concrete balcony cantilevered out to semi-circular ends, and with a steel balustrade to simple uprights; at this level is a continuous multi-light window returned to quadrants at each end, above a low breast wall, and with a deep parapet wall taken up as a balustrade to the top deck, which has a further range of full-width glazing to a set-back observation room. The return walls each have a series of tall casements, linked at the upper level by a 'frieze band' under the cantilevered flat slab with the nautical balustrade continued to the rear to the stair tower. The rear façade has a single light each side of the projecting stair tower, with a small bulls-eye above a deep stair light, and small lights on the return. The building is flanked at each side by two-bay fire tender and flare stores.
With West Malling, Swanton Morley has the best-preserved example of the most definably Art Deco of the Air Ministry's control tower designs, with a meteorological section incorporated into the design behind the control room. Its distinctly Art Deco treatment strongly recalls the Bauhaus tradition from which this style was evolved.
Information from (S1).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 12 November 2009.

2007-2011. Conservation management plan.
See (S2) in file.
S. Howard (HES), 26 October 2011.

Monument Types

  • CONTROL TOWER (World War Two to 21st Century - 1939 AD to 2100 AD)
  • WATCH OFFICE WITH METEOROLOGICAL SECTION (5845/39) (World War Two to 21st Century - 1939 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1391586.
<S2>Unpublished Document: 2011. Conservation management plan for Control Tower, Robertson Barracks, Swanton Morley Airfield..

Related records

2830Part of: Swanton Morley Airfield (Monument)
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