100 Days Centenary Countdown: Our Top 10
This week we will highlight our 10 favourite wartime sites recorded through Home Front Legacy over the years.
Home Front Legacy concluded with 5,947 sites recorded and we are now working to archive our project data with the Archaeology Data Service.
It’s been a difficult task, but here are our top 10 favourite recorded sites.
Gotha Bomb Site, High Street, Bluetown, Sheerness
Sheerness was attacked by a number of German Gotha bombers on the 5th June 1917. Several bombs fell on the town including High Street, Bluetown. The bomb destroyed a building on the site that is now occupied by the Criterion Theatre and the Blue Town Heritage Centre. The remains of bomb splinter damage can be seen in the wall of Sheerness Dockyard opposite the Heritage Centre.
Images: © Simon Mason Defence of Swale Project
Duxford Workshop and Parachute store
This First World War airfield Workshop and parachute store is part of the many early airfield buildings to be found at No.35 Training Depot Station Duxford.
The brick built chimney located on the West facing elevation incorporates a date stone, inscribed ‘R.A.F. 1918 P&W.A.’, suggesting the building was completed after April 1918 when the R.A.F. was formed.
The building is also Grade II listed.
Images: © C. Kolonko
Winterton Pheasant Coops
According to ‘20th Century Defences in Britain: Norfolk‘ by Mike Osborne, pheasant coops were established at Winterton, Norfolk, during the First World War.
These coops were intended to act as an early warning system to detect incoming airships and aircraft. A pheasant’s hearing is highly acute and they react audibly to the sound of aircraft engines. This novel early warning system proved unsuccessful as the pheasants were unable to provide a reliable indication of the approaching aircraft’s direction.
The exact location of the coops is unknown.
Hauxton Coprolite Works
Did you know that dinosaur poo helped win the war?
Various Coprolite workings were re-opened during the War as a source of phosphate. At the time Germany was a key source of phosphate. At the outbreak of war this supply was cut off, meaning another source had to be found.
Coprolite is fossilised faeces from prehistoric ichthyosaurs. When treated with sulphuric acid it produces a superphosphate that can be used as fertiliser or in explosives.
The industry had largely disappeared prior to 1914 due to cheaper American imports.
White Hart Hotel, Lincoln
The White Hart pub is where the first plans for military tanks were put together by Sir William Tritton and Major W G Wilson in September 1915.
Grimsby Bus Depot
After the First World War, the hangars from nearby RNAS Killingholme were transported to Grimsby and rebuilt to form the Grimsby Corporation Tramways depot. The depot still survives today as the Grimsby Bus depot.
Grey Point Battery
Grey Point fort became operational in 1907, with additional ancillary buildings being constructed over the following three years.
The battery formed part of the Belfast Port War Signals defences tasked with monitoring approaching vessels; operating during the First World War with additional accommodation being constructed at the outbreak of war.
A huge thanks goes to Dr. Heather Montgomery of Queen’s University Belfasts’ Living Legacies 1914-18 project for taking us to this amazing site!
Station Road Bridge Graffiti, Bakewell
Five carvings can be found on the Station Road railway bridge in Bakewell. These carvings include a date of 1918 and are thought to have been done by a patient convalescing at the Newlands VAD hospital.
The Stobs Camp Project have done a great job recording the camp and its surviving features.
In the First World War Stobs became a prisoner of war camp. It initially held German civilians but in early 1915 it became an internment camp for military and naval prisoners. Around 80 barrack huts, a large hospital and many ancillary structures were constructed.
Penally Practice Trenches
Some of the best preserved practice trenches in the UK, the Penally trenches are a ‘textbook’ example of a First World War era trench system.