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+…)
Came across these whilst on a recent Road Trip, a couple of rather sorry looking Type 22 Pillboxes on the North Norfolk Coast. One had been built into the Sea Defences and the other had fallen upside down off a clifftop…The reason for this is the rather pathetic looking Sea Defences that were installed in the 1950’s, the cliffs lose 2 meters a year in erosion from the North Sea.
Next to fall in are several houses and then a lifeboat station…
In 1910 R.Quenby & Sons were first listed as millers after buying a 21 year lease on a local mill in Bromham, Bedfordshire. In 1938 they became a registered company as Quenby Price Limited. In 1969 they moved out of the mill and into nearby Turvey Station that had closed in 1962 (the last train left this station in March 1962) as a result of Dr. Richard Beeching’s ‘Beeching Bombshell’ report that resulted in more than 4,000 miles of railway and 3,000 stations being closed over a 10 year period. (During 1962 780 miles of track were closed across the country). The station buildings were used as offices but sadly they did demolish most of the platform.
In 1971 Quenby Price Limited leased the orignal Bromham Mill buildings, mill house and 6½ acres of land to Bedfordshire County Council as a picnic site, selling them to the council two years later. After Quenby Price moved out, the Mill was taken over by artisans making pottery and leather goods until a fire broke out on 20 Feb 1974. Bromham Mill is now a popular Bedfordshire tourist destination
The Turvey Station site grew over the years under the name Quenby Price and many of the original buildings were demolished and rebuilt to keep up with mechanisation and modernistation techniques in agriculture. The company changed hands several times over the years, falling into the hands of Unilever under the name United Agricultural Merchants (BOCM Silcock Ltd). I was lucky enough to have a tour of the site in the early 1980’s when it was fully operational and remember visting the old silo building and climbing the ladders to a high dusty gallery (long demolished).
The site changed hands again several times before being finally taken over by Cargills PLC and then ultimately its closure several years ago, it now lays derelict having been ‘made safe’ and also fairly well stripped by travellers.
The site comprises of two wet grain storage bins, a pre-cleaner, two grain driers, six storage silos with 10,000 tonnes of grain storage and two despatch bins. Everything is linked with grain elevators, conveyors and horizontal augers. In addition to this are workshops, admin buildings offices and a Laboratory.
UPDATE – March 2011
This site has been levelled to the ground over the last three weeks, totally demolished, nothing exists.
There was a development company involved who bought the site several years ago and I suspect it will soon be redeveloped as a residential site.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy the pix
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…
Behind this and deep into the compound are rows and rows of explosive storage units: Thirty ‘Dutch Barns’ (some demolished) for storage of BL755 Cluster Bombs (manufactured by Hunting Engineering in Ampthill, Bedfordshire), several more 1000lb HE storage buildings, 68mm SNEB Rocket storage buildings and perhaps the most interesting, nine hardened ‘Igloo’ cells with filtered air supply and totally enclosed electrical supplies. These hardened units were used for storing ‘unspecified’ American explosives from RAF Lakenheath.
Given the size and construction of the Igloo cells compared to the other buildings and the fact they are the farthest away from the RAF Wittering runway, whatever was in these shelters were some serious toys. Contrary to popular theories though, this site was never used for Project E weapons, these type of weapons remained in the Igloos at RAF Wittering SSA as the US Military insisted that such weapons were never dispersed. This caused some conflict with the RAF who would rather have dispersed the V Force at times of high political tension. The SSA at RAF Wittering is still intact, although derelict and the unusual Fissile Core Stores can still be seen. Both the ESA and SSA share common design features and some of the doors are identical at both sites.
The site has also been used for many illegal raves over the years, mainly by the An Watt Sound System on Bank Holiday weekends. The kiddie ravers have left a massive amount of rubbish on site now, it’s down to them that thousands of mini ‘Nangs/Whippits‘ cartridges, NOS balloons and bigger NOS Bottles now carpet most of the site.
I don’t have a problem with illegal raves, been to plenty myself, just clear your shit up when you leave, that’s all…
In recent years ‘travellers’ have helped themselves to miles of 3-phase armoured cable, pipework for the underground fire prevention system and virtually all of the aluminium lamp posts. The Mains Room has been gutted and there’s even been an attempt to remove the Sub Station!
Bomb Maintenance Buildings
Here are some more pictures from this visit to RAF Kings Cliffe/USAAF Station 367