Site Name: Blakelaw - 13 Group Fighter Command Filter Room and Newcastle County Borough Main Control Centre
Sub Brit site visit 1st December 2004
[Source: Nick Catford]
Following the Battle of Britain, it was recognised that the central
command structure was in danger of being overloaded with information
from the various radar stations and observation. To overcome this potential
problem, each Group Headquarters were provided with a Filter Room. The
purpose of this facility was to receive all reports of aircraft locations,
to assimilate and assess this information in order to provide the most
accurate possible picture to the Operations Room. The Filter Room for
Kenton Bar was built on a separate site, in Blakelaw Quarry. This facility
was somewhat smaller than the Group
Headquarters, but built to a similar pattern.
Photo:The operations room at Blakelaw Filter Room seen from the upper floor; this later became the Newcastle County Borough Main Control Centre
Photo by Nick Catford
This change in role meant that the Filter Room apparently became redundant
and was taken over by the Military Police in June 1944. The exact role
of the Blakelaw bunker at this time is in some doubt; there were proposals
to establish a joint USAAF/RAF command centre or even to convert the
site into a Maintenance Unit but neither of these appear to have come
to anything. In September of that year, the Filter Room was turned over
to 321 Squadron, attached to 22 Group.
Plan of the proposed conversion of the 13 Group Filter Room to a Civil Defence Control Centre - minor alterations were made when the bunker later became TS Nelson
Drawn by Nick Catford
In the 1971 Home Defence Review it was still officially performing this role and in 1974 it was ceded to Tyne & Wear County. The newly formed Newcastle District Council officially designated it as their war HQ but nothing was done to it due to the Council's extreme left wing policy on Civil Defence.
The bunker which now stands in the middle of Moulton Court on the Blakelaw Estate (sheltered housing) between two high rise blocks will not be demolished but the sunken area containing the emergency exit will be filled in bringing it up to the level of the surrounding ground which will be landscaped and turned into a public garden with seating.
For further information and pictures of the Blakelaw Filter Room click here
For 13 Group Fighter Command Group Headquarters
at Kenton Bar - click here
[Source: Nick Catford]
Last updated 17th September 2005
© 2005 Subterranea Britannica