Ancient Monuments

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Gloucester Lodge Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery

A Scheduled Monument in Seaton Valley, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1 / 55°5'59"N

Longitude: -1.4994 / 1°29'57"W

OS Eastings: 432039.975884

OS Northings: 578511.45132

OS Grid: NZ320785

Mapcode National: GBR K9ZG.5L

Mapcode Global: WHC36.Y25L

Entry Name: Gloucester Lodge Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery

Scheduled Date: 30 January 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1402264

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Seaton Valley

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Delaval Our Lady

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


Gloucester Lodge Battery includes the buried, earthwork and standing remains of a multi-phase Second World War heavy anti-aircraft gun battery and radar site, as well as a Cold War heavy anti-aircraft gun and radar site. The battery occupies a level pasture field retaining extensive rig and furrow cultivation.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: occupying a level pasture field retaining extensive rig and furrow cultivation, Gloucester Lodge Battery includes the buried, earthwork, and standing remains of a multi-phase Second World War heavy anti-aircraft gun battery and radar site, and a Cold War heavy anti-aircraft gun site and radar site.

COMMAND POSTS: The operational core of the site was the command post. The Second World War command post is shown on modern Ordnance Survey maps approximately 140m from the main road. It is visible as a rectangular, single storey, semi-sunken structure with a flat reinforced concrete roof. Entered through original double metal doors, it contains multiple rooms including a plotting, telephone and rest rooms, and although it does not retain original fittings, the internal layout of the building is largely intact. Externally, there are brick-built raised platforms, which retain the fittings for instruments such as a spotter’s telescope, range finder and predictor. The command post has a boiler room to the rear (for central heating as supplied to those command posts operated by female Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) personnel). The Cold War command post is also shown on modern Ordnance Survey maps and is situated 50m west of the earlier control room. This is a single-storey, rectangular reinforced concrete structure with a flat roof measuring about 12m by 8m; to the rear there is a small rectangular double chambered outshut. A low solid platform immediately to the east is of uncertain function. The south side contains an entrance fitted with an iron blast door, flanked by metal grilles and there is a single window opening in the east side. The north side has double doors with a metal grille to one side. Cable ducting emerges from the east and west sides of the structure and runs into the ground.

GUN EMPLACEMENTS: forming an arc around the Second World War command post are six gun emplacements, which are also depicted on modern Ordnance Survey maps. The central four emplacements form a shallow arc and are visible as curvilinear earthworks with concrete retaining walls forming a gun pit about 10m across containing circular holdfasts or mounting bolts set into the ground, enclosed by a secondary ring of holdfast bolts grouped together in threes. Concrete rectangular ammunition lockers are situated against the wall of the gun pit. These emplacements are a Cold War rebuilding of the earlier Second World War gun emplacements; retaining the earlier holdfasts but they have rebuilt ammunition lockers and an equipment locker on the outer face, permitting the use of the then newly developed fully automatic 3.7-inch Mk.VI No.5 gun mountings. At least one locker retains its original iron doors, several others retain door fixings and some retain truncated wooden roller supports. At either end of this arc of four Cold War emplacements there is a square emplacement; each of these conform to a standard Second World War design (DFW55483) intended for a power operated 3.7-inch (static) MK11C gun, documented to have been installed at the site in late 1943. Each emplacement comprises a perimeter blast wall incorporating four ammunition recesses with paired and roofed lockers lining one or both sides and a central metal rectangular holdfast.

STANDBY POWER HOUSE AND GUN STORE: this is situated immediately to the south of the gun emplacements; it is visible as a flat-roofed rectangular concrete building with an entrance in its south side and with multiple rectangular ventilators set high in the walls. It is also depicted on modern Ordnance Survey maps.

RADAR SITE: to the rear of the Cold War control room is the radar site also depicted on modern Ordnance Survey maps; at the centre there is a Second World War period GL Mk.II radar receiver plinth comprising a low brick-built square platform about 4m across, with a concrete surface, upon which a mobile radar caravan was tethered down. The plinth is accessed by a pair of narrow concrete ramps at the south side c. 10m in length. To the south and north of this radar plinth, there are a pair of identical concrete Cold War period structures; the unroofed more easterly of each pair is interpreted as a radar position, and the adjacent buildings are thought to be tractor sheds to house the vehicles that pulled the mobile radar caravan into position. To the north of the northern pair, there are the rectangular foundations of a generator room with an engine bed retaining original fixings.

DOMESTIC CAMP: close to the road to the east of the gun emplacements there are the remains of the domestic camp; this is visible as the concrete footings of at least twelve Nissen and/or timber huts set in two parallel rows with a single example set at right angles towards the northern end.

OTHER FEATURES: To the north east of the main complex there are the remains of a 40mm Bofors gun emplacement intended to provide the battery with light anti-aircraft defence; this is visible as a pair of opposing concrete uprights, one with an attached section of walling. A number of circular sunken earthworks immediately west of the domestic camp are thought to be a wartime troop searchlight battery. Within the area of assessment there are several other slight earthwork features thought to relate to the earlier phases of the Second World War battery. A series of shelter trenches visible on contemporary aerial photographs and a Lewis light anti-aircraft machine gun weapons pit lying at the south east side of the field, survive as infilled buried features, and modern aerial photographs show the numerous infilled post holes of the timber posts that supported the octagonal-plan false radar datum that surrounded the GL Mk.II radar receiver plinth.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduled area includes the full extent of the Second World War and Cold War HAA batteries, including their buried and earthwork remains. There are two separate areas of protection: the first and largest is defined on the east, south and west sides by the inner foot of the field boundaries. Beyond the area to the west (south west corner) further remains of the earliest mobile battery are shown on contemporary aerial photographs, but this area is not included in the scheduling as the remains, ephemeral by nature, lie in an area of disturbed ground. On the north side the line is drawn along the edge of the surviving ridge and furrow; beyond this to the north the ground has suffered clear disturbance. The second area of scheduling includes the remains of the 40mm Bofors gun emplacement.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

This multi-phase Second World War heavy anti-aircraft gun battery and radar site, and later Cold War heavy anti-aircraft gun and radar site, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: it is one of only a handful of complete or near complete Second World War gun batteries that was adapted for continued service during the Cold War;
* Survival: generally good survival of all component parts in a variety of forms including buried features, associated earthworks and standing remains, the latter retaining evidence of their original fittings. The survival of the radar ramp is particularly unusual;
* Potential: the remains will enhance our detailed understanding of the construction, function and use of this military site type in Britain as well as serving as a tangible symbol of the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction;
* Historic interest: it is an important and evocative witness to national defence policy both during the Second World War and the Cold War;
* Group value: the site is a multi-phase but legible ensemble, in which the functioning of the various parts is strongly sensed and where the military experience is readily captured;
* Period: a multi-phase gun site that is strongly representative of those constructed during the Second World War, and whose continued use during the Cold War illustrates the physical manifestation of the global division between capitalism and communism that shaped the history of the late C20.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Brown, I, C20 Defences in Britain: An Introductory Guide, (1996), 48-59
Cowley, D C (ed) , Landscapes Through The Lens: Aerial Photographs and Historic Environment, (2010), 89-98
Pastscape record, accessed from
Dobinson, C S, twentieth Century Fortifications in England volume 1.3 Anti-aircraft artillery site gazeteer (327) 1914-46 , 1996,
Oblique aerial photograph: NMR NZ 3278/9 (17338) 26- July 1999,
Vertical aerial photograph: CPE/Scot/UK 27-Jun-1947,
Vertical aerial photograph: RAF 541/A/479 4393 21-Jun-1949,
Vertical aerial photograph: RAF/S415 19-Aug-1941,
Vertical Aerial Photographs: RAF/4E/BR192;12-Jun-1941 ,

Source: Historic England

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