Here is the rest of the pictures from Maidstone – 1 Group ROC HQ, as mentioned in the previous blog post time was very very tight so the pictures were rushed, apologies for this.
These remaining shots are of the Plant Room, escape hatches and rooftop.
Maidstone – 1 Group ROC HQ was built in 1959 and opened on the 25th June 1960 on an existing site for 1 Group Royal Observer Corps that had been operational since 1939.
Maidstone was part of the Metropolitan Sector, along with Horsham, Oxford, Colchester and Winchester. Each Group HQ controlled between 20 and 30 ROC Posts and collated data from all of these sites at five minute intervals. The information was then logged and plotted at the HQ where they would produce fallout predictions based on current weather conditions, log the detonation type (burst height) and location/yield before disseminating this information out to other locations such as UKWMO HQ, Regional Government Headquarters and other military sites.
Since closure in 1992 1 Group ROC HQ has been owned by a local Solicitors who until recently used the structure for archive storage.
It is of the same design as all of the ROC Group HQ’s in that its construction is of a semi sunken type, containing a totally sealed environment for ROC staff to operate in during operations. This particular Group HQ is in very good condition with all of the plant, filtration and ventilation systems intact and most likely operational. Recently the HQ has had a new roof fitted in order to try and combat the obvious damp issues the structure has.
Time was extremely limited at this location so the photo’s were very rushed, apologies for any poor shots!! (I’ve already dumped 70+…)
Opened – Unknown
Closed – October 1968
There isn’t too much that can be said about this post as you can see from the pictures. I’m not entirely sure when it was capped with concrete and steel bar but its at least 15 years ago, also I’m not sure if it is just a cap or in fact they poured rubble down the shaft and topped it with concrete. If I run out of things to do before I die I might go back with a large can of PlusGas and ‘FSM Cam’ it just out of idle curiosity.
Great location geographically with great vision all round, or certainly would have been before the odd building and trees that have sprang up since the 1950’s. Bedford is one of those unusual counties with very few ROC Posts, despite the fact that Bedford ROC Group HQ No 7 was the HQ for the UKWMO Midlands Sector, covering many more counties at the time.
Nature has certainly claimed back this post…
I’m not into Militaria….at all, but I couldn’t resist these couple of items, found on eBay whilst looking for other stuff that I actually needed.
Original overalls/coveralls patch worn by Royal Observer Corps Observers and a Royal Observer Corps Kings Crown cap badge that would have been worn on a beret originally.
Back at the start of the Cold War the first mass produced Civil Defence Geiger Counter was the Geiger-Müller counter Meter, Contamination, No. 1 set – stock number 5CG0012, of 1953. You still see these from time to time and many remained in use into the 1980’s. It was replaced in 1956 by the British Radiac Survey Meter No 2 which was adopted by the Royal Observer Corps until they took delivery of the better known and specifically built Fixed Survey Meter.
In 1982 Plessey Controls introduced the PDRM82 Portable Dose Rate Meter and this became standard issue for both Civil Defence and Military applications, a special version was created for the Royal Observer Corps, the PDRM82(F) which had an external Coax cable allowing connection to an above ground ionisation detector which ran up the FSM Tube to a polycarbonate dome.
Surprisingly these are allegedly still standard Military Issue today, despite significant advances in technology!!
We recently bought a couple on eBay for exploring a site that in the past was known for having ‘radioactive content’ but despite coming across very real evidence of radioactive items, including Cobalt-60 storage, we could not get even the faintest reading anywhere at the site….kind of good really as had the PDRM82 ‘lit up’ we would have been a bit freaked out….
Closed – October 1968Nearing the end of visiting every ROC Post in Northamptonshire I went to Crick, knowing it to be in a sorry state from earlier reports at least I wasn’t shocked when I got there. Internally and externally the post is heavily vandalised with some evidence of small fires being started in the Observation Room and all manner of junk thrown down the shaft, including the hatch, hatch mechanism, sump piping and Counter Balance.Only very few remains from the original post are present such as traces of telecoms cabling and possibly what were original chairs. What’s left of the toilet door is laying on a pile of house bricks and decorated with a variety of road cones…
Yet another trashed 68’er
Closed – September 1991The last post visited as part of an ‘8 ROC Posts in one day’ tour and probably the mintiest ROC Post i’ve visited to date. Actually I didn’t really want to post this one up as it just serves as temptation for some morons to come and trash it and steal its contents but then I thought if I don’t post it up then someone else will…..its fate is sealed either way I guess…..hopefully someone will put a massive lock on it to protect this for future generations of visitors, who knows.
Some pix suffer from me experimenting with camera settings which I promise not to do while out in the field again…
Closed – October 1968Explored as part of an 8 ROC Posts in one day tour we visited Castor ROC Post, location of a well publicised suicide by a local farmer some years ago who hanged himself in the access shaft. Perhaps this has put off the chavs as the post is in no worse condition that when Sub Brit visited back in 1997, apart from the fact that the compound is now totally overgrown and it took us several laps of the site to locate the hatch and crawl on our hands and knees through the undergrowth.
Good deed of the day was rescuing a sick looking toad that probably fell down the severed at ground level FSM tube and bringing it back to the surface.
Also present at this site is a great example of an Aicraft Observation Post, originally this would have had a canvas cover on top and some steps.
I was experimenting with camera settings so apologies for the quality on some shots.
Closed – October 1968Yet another post visited as part of an ‘8 ROC Posts in one day’ tour. We walked right past this one as the compound was totally overgrown. The hatch has been torn off for years but surprisingly it was bone dry inside. Some internal fittings still present such as the bed and no vandalism which is neat. Really nice and peaceful site with fantastic light outside.
As mentioned in my other reports for this day I was experimenting with camera settings (epic fail on most which got deleted ) so apologies for the quality.