Tyne and Wear HER(1781): Stoney Gate, Pillbox - Details
Stoney Gate, Pillbox
Description: Pillbox, one of a pair on an inland stop-line constructed in 1940-41 of reinforced concrete. PLAN: An elongated hexagon with a main and rear front and a flat roof. EXTERIOR: Single storey and partly lying below ground level. The elongated front has a central machine gun embrasure flanked by single rifle embrasures with a single machine gun embrasure to each chamfered side. The rear front has a protected doorway with two rifle embrasures and one to the other with a rifle and machine gun embrasure to each chamfered side. INTERIOR: There is a thick detached blast wall in a central position within the pillbox. Beneath each of the machine gun embrasures there is a roughly square hole, which formerly contained the mounting for a machine gun mount. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: A second pillbox lies c. 0.9km to the north and both examples like on a former anti-invasion stop line. HISTORY: From May 1940 to February 1942, inland defence hinged on the use of major anti-tank stop-lines intended to slow down an anticipated invasion from occupied France. Stop lines comprised a variety of defensive features including pillboxes, ditches and barbed wire. Pillboxes were usually built by local soldiers in various defensive locations and aimed to accommodate rifles or light machine guns and although the War Office issued twelve standard pillbox designs, in practice, many unofficial designs arose out of local considerations and preferences. The pillbox at New Herrington is one of a pair, which survives on a stop line that ringed the city of Sunderland and aimed to protect the town’s western hinterland in the event of an east coast invasion. Analysis of old mapping shows that the pillbox was located on a former enclosure boundary, now removed. SOURCES: I Brown et al 20th Century Defences in Britain 1996; CS Dobinson 1996 Twentieth Century Fortifications in England Anti-Invasion Defences of WWII. CBA. REASON FOR DESIGNATION: It is an example of a type of pillbox which is exclusively northeastern and is rare in a national context. It is situated on a defensive stop-line and has group value with an adjacent pillbox. It illustrates the strategic approach to anti-invasion defences in the hinterland of an important industrial town during the Second World War. It is a well-preserved example of its type whose form clearly illustrates its intended function.
<< HER 1781 >> A. Rudd, 1989, Existing Sites of Pillboxes in Tyne and Wear; I Brown et al 20th Century Defences in Britain 1996; CS Dobinson 1996 Twentieth Century Fortifications in England Anti-Invasion Defences of WWII. CBA; Department of Culture Media and Sport, 2008, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, 504124