Tyne and Wear HER(7070): Kenton, Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Post - Details
Kenton, Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Post
Royal Observer Corps Site
This ROC monitoring post was built in 1960. The choice of site is likely to have been related to topography, security and ease of purchase of the land, rather than due to proximity to the Regional War Room (HER 5035). These posts were intended to be manned during times of tension, to monitor the location and power of nuclear detonations and the progress of radioactive fallout, so that the population could be warned, and Civil Defence measures effectively managed. They operated in clusters of three posts linked by telephone and radio cables, meaning that readings could triangulated with independence from peace-time telephone system. The posts were manned by observers. A bunk-bed and basic toilet facilities were provided. Food had to be prepared in the post. No air filtration system was installed. Half of the ROC posts, including Kenton, were abandoned after the 1968 defence cuts. Some however remained in use until 1991 when the ROC was finally disbanded. The Kenton example is visible above ground as a low grassy mound approximately 10m long by 4m wide by 1m high. The main entrance, main ventilator shaft and two masts for the bomb-power and fall-out monitoring devices are visible. The entrance is a concrete shaft 1m square and 0.85m high with a counterweighted steel hatch. On the eastern side of the entrance shaft is a 0.55m square mount for a warning siren. The ventilator is also of concret, measuring 0.65m square and 0.85m high. The openings on the north and south sides are covered with louvred timber shutters. The two sensor masts are 0.7m tall. The interior is accessed by a ladder attached to the west wall of the entrance shaft. At the base of the shaft is a shallow sump covered by a metal grating to allow water to be pumped out via the hand pump fixed to the north wall. On the eastern side of the entrance shaft is a small room measuring 0.95m x 0.85m, which once held an elsan toilet. The main room measures 4.5m x 2.26m and contained a table and cupboard. Directly above the table was a mount for the bomb-power indicator, used to calculate the power and bearing of a nuclear detonation. The connections for a telephone are still attached to this wall. The south wall has a small opening 1.5m from floor level, covered with a sliding steel plate, which opens into a shaft into the main ventilator. The interior is painted light grey. A battery charging log and cardboard dial were recovered from the post.
J.C. Mabbitt, Tyne and Wear Museums, 2002, Former 13 Group Fighter Command Headquarters, Kenton Bar, Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeological Assessment; http://subbrit.org.uk; D. Wood, 1992, Attack Warning Red; J.C. Mabbitt, Tyne and Wear Museums, 2004, Electrical Substation and former Observer Corps Monitoring Post, Kenton Bar, Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeological Building Recording; C.S. Dobinson, 2000, Twentieth Century Fortifications in England, The Cold War, Vol XI, 2, p 261 Council For British Archaeology, 1995, Twentieth Century, Defences in Britain - An Introductory Guide Handbook of The Defence of Britain Project, p 32