Ancient Monuments

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MoD CORSHAM: Lamson Terminus Room and associated Fan Room

A Scheduled Monument in Box, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4208 / 51°25'15"N

Longitude: -2.2175 / 2°13'3"W

OS Eastings: 384969.41731

OS Northings: 169114.129358

OS Grid: ST849691

Mapcode National: GBR 1RF.XV9

Mapcode Global: VH96H.JK14

Entry Name: MoD CORSHAM: Lamson Terminus Room and associated Fan Room

Scheduled Date: 20 March 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1409121

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Box

Built-Up Area: Corsham

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Box

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


A room contained within a former Bath Stone quarry, latterly adapted to an underground government facility: Central Government War Headquarters (CGWHQ). The room contains the terminus of a Lamson pneumatic tube communication system.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: a room containing a Lamson terminus station. The station stands against the north wall of the room. Steel pneumatic tubes rise from the Lamson station, cross the Bath Stone roof, continuing through the concrete block, south wall via embrasures. The walls are of Bath Stone and coursed concrete block, with some red brick infill. The floor and roof are solid Bath Stone. The floor has been levelled. The area to the west of the Lamson station is a store area. The neighbouring fan room to the south-west contains the attached equipment to drive the Lamson system, and is included in the designated area.

DESCRIPTION: an irregular rectangle on plan, this room is approximately 14m wide and 7m deep. The room is accessed from the main route through Spring Quarry, Main Road, via three concrete steps with steel railings. It has a plain timber door marked with lettering of its Area and Room Numbers (15 over 9a). Above the door is a square ventilation opening with embrasures to either side for the pneumatic tubes to pass through. Opposite the door is the Lamson terminus station. 24 vertical, pneumatic receiving tubes stand above a timber plinth or desk. Each vertical tube is set side by side, and painted with numbers and the locations of the 24 recipients (Room numbers below Area numbers). The lower part of each tube is sealed with a removable cover for the insertion of message capsules. Behind the row of receiving tubes are 24 vertical, pneumatic delivery tubes, positioned in line with the gaps between the receiving tubes in front of them. The receiving tubes incorporate a steel frame that is bolted to the rear wall of the room. A curved steel chute descends from each of the receiving tubes, terminating in front of, and below the delivery tubes. The chutes have a disc at the end, and are termination points for the receipt of capsules from other system users.
All above ground structures are excluded from the scheduling. The scheduled area includes a 1m margin on all sides as well as above and below.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Lamson Terminus Room, and associated fan room, in the CGWHQ, below MoD Corsham, is designated as a Scheduled Monument for the following principal reason:
* Period: the peril from the threat of nuclear strike that Britain faced during the Cold War is inherent in the need to install this facility to transfer important documentation efficiently around the headquarters.
* Rarity: this is the only known Lamson system of its kind.
* Survival: the system is complete and in situ, retaining its impressive receiving and delivery tubes fixed with racking, with tube covers intact, and adjacent room with intact fans.
* Group value: the CGWHQ site is an unparalleled example of our national Cold War defence heritage, and represents the systematic use of expansive underground areas by industry and the military during the C20.
* Representative: the sober fitting out of the Bath Stone chamber is redolent of the grim character of Cold War installations and the functional nature of the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hennessy, P, The Secret State, (2010)
McCamley, N J, Secret Underground Cities, (2000)
McCamley, N J, Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers, (2002)
McCamley, N J, Second World War Secret Bunkers, (2010)
Fox, S, 'Subterranea' in Top Secret - Acid, (2010)
Lamson (UK and Eastern Hemisphere), accessed from

Source: Historic England

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