Help Locate and Record Secret Listening Stations
During the First World War (WW1, WWI, World War One), 217 secret listening stations operated both inland and around the English coast. These wireless stations played a significant role in winning the war.
They were used for intercepting enemy messages, working out the locations of hostile U-boats, warships and Zeppelins, decoding messages and predicting targets. But what remains of them today?
Research that uncovered this has been based on records, archives, aerial photographs and Google Earth. Now we want the public to take up the search on the ground.
There are locations all around the south and east coast from Lands End to Dover and from Sheerness to Berwick that we need your help to investigate. Also inland, in places ranging Farnborough to Newcastle upon Tyne and Norwich to Worcester.
What we already know
Some of the 217 listening stations were built on aerodromes or incorporated into existing defences, such as Dover Castle. Others were carried on board Lightships that acted as floating lighthouses and six were experimental portable wireless stations.
Others were existing wireless stations requisitioned from Marconi, the firm which first developed wireless communications in the early years of the 20th century. Some of these types of listening station are already well documented.
Help us to complete the picture
However, the 87 free-standing wireless stations are largely unknown. These were often humble wooden huts or simple brick buildings out in the middle of nowhere, operated by the Admiralty, the War Office or other agencies. Historic England needs your help to find them, record their exact location and describe what remains.
How to get started
Read Historic England’s report -First World War Wireless Stations -England.
For further information about Historic England’s First World War projects go to our First World War web pages.
Read the guidance on our Home Front Legacy pages too see how you can research, plan and undertake field work and record you findings using our Home Front Legacy App.