Record Details

NHER Number:31218
Type of record:Monument
Name:RAF Neatishead radar station


RAF Neatishead opened in 1941 and has been used as a radar station over the last sixty years. It is the longest occupied radar station in Britain and probably the world. The site was of paramount importance during the Cold War and includes the last Cold War radar assembly in Britain. The site is now partly used as museum. The development of the site from World War Two through the Cold War is visible on a sequence of aerial photographs.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3451 1869
Map Sheet:TG31NW

Full description

Founded during World War Two as one of the earliest radar stations in Britain. Of paramount importance during the Cold War. Now partly used as museum.
See (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 7 June 1995.

The site includes the last Cold War radar assembly in Britain. This was designed to burn through Soviet radar screens and was so powerful it would microwave seagulls that landed on it.
Information from [1].
E. Rose, 23 October 2000.

Cold War Monument Protection Plan assessment identifies this as a site of national importance, and it is to be listed or scheduled.
See (S2) file for details and report on CD ROM.
D. Gurney (NLA), 27 December 2001.

January 2007. Norfolk NMP
Structures relating to RAF Neatishead radar station are visible on aerial photographs (S3-S10). The central grid reference for this site is TG 3451 1865. This radar station opened in June 1941 as a Ground Control Intercept (GCI) station to track enemy aircraft once they were inland and past the circuit of coastal Chain Home (CH) radar stations. The earliest phase of the site comprised only a few wooden buildings and caravans. In January 1942 these were supplemented by further buildings and a gantry for a Type 8 radar, with the site becoming an Intermediate GCI Station. By July of that year a two storey operations room had also been constructed making the site a ‘Final GCI Station’. From January 1943 it was operational in its final wartime form with a Type 7 radar and two Type 13 radars (S2).
The earliest available aerial photograph of RAF Neatishead dates to July 1942 (S3). This photograph shows only part of the site and the altitude from which it was taken means that little detail is visible. A structure, possibly the Type 8 radar gantry, was located in the centre of the eastern half of the site, with a small group of buildings present at its northern edge. The complete site is visible on a USAAF aerial photograph dating to April 1944 (S4), but again the scale of the photograph was such that nothing can be accurately plotted. However, the site at this time appears to be almost identical in its plan and extent to that shown on aerial photographs two years later. RAF aerial photographs dating from July 1946 (S5) are the first to show the site in detail and it is from these that its extent was mapped for the NMP. The operations block and associated buildings are located in the southern part of the site adjacent to the road at TG 3455 1848. To the north of these were a number of plinths and gantries associated with different radar equipment. A further group of buildings were present in the northern part of the site at TG 3455 1888. These were present on the 1942 aerial photograph (S3) and are probably the buildings relating to the original GCI station. Isolated structures, presumably further radar equipment were located to the north and south of the site in 1946.
The post war development of the site is well documented by a range of oblique and vertical aerial photographs (S6-S10) although structures of this period have not been mapped. The site played an important role during the Cold War and many significant buildings and structures remain at the site (S2).
J. Albone (NMP), 16 January 2007

February 2008. Buildings listed.
R3 Underground Operations Block and R12 Radar Equipment Building are listed Grade II, while R30 Operations Room is II*.
See (S11).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 12 November 2009.

February 2010.
There are plans to expand the museum by knocking through an exisiting wall. Listed building consent is being sought.
See (S12) for further details,
H. White, (NLA), 5 February 2010

Monument Types

  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • OPERATIONS BLOCK (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADAR STATION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADAR STATION (Cold War - 1945 AD to 1992 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995-1998. [Articles regarding the museum at RAF Neatishead radar station].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2005. [Articles on the potential new uses of RAF Neatishead radar station].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2006. The bunker that became a death trap. 16 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. Historic, but plane was too heavy. 30 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999-2000. [Articles on the proposed closure of RAF Neatishead radar station].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. A tour of Norfolk's magical ups and downs. 21 March.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF14908.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF14908.
<S1>Publication: RAF ADRM. 1999. The Royal Air Force Air Defence Radar Museum.
<S2>Monograph: Cocroft, W.. 2001. Cold War Monuments: An Assessment by the Monuments Protection Programme..
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1942. RAF FNO/35 6049 02-JUL-1942 (NMR).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: USAAF. 1944. US/7PH/GP/LOC298 5014 20-APR-1944 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 5066-7 09-JUL-1946 (NHER TG 3419A / TG 3519A).
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1958. NMR TG 3418/3-4 (RAF 30288 PSFO-0036-7) 24-SEP-1958.
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1963. RAF 543/2331 (F21) 107-8 25-JUL-1963 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: ADAS. 1995. ADAS 633 164-5 2-1995 (BA).
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 3418A-C (NLA 365/JFB4-6) 28-JUN-1996.
<S10>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 3418D-E (NLA 368/JCR1-2) 08-JUL-1996.
<S11>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entries 1393417 and 1393420.
<S12>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Museum to expand its collection. 5 February.

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35784Parent of: Cold War standby generator house at Allens Farm, Threehammer Common (Building)

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