Site Records


Site Name: Blakelaw - 13 Group Fighter Command Filter Room and Newcastle County Borough Main Control Centre

Moulton Court
Blakelaw Estate
Blakelaw
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NZ213668

Sub Brit site visit 1st December 2004

[Source: Nick Catford]

There are two stairways down to the lower level one on the north side of the bunker and another on the east side. All the rooms on the upper level, apart from the toilets have been stripped of all original fixtures and fittings with the exception of ventilation trunking which is still in place in some of the rooms through the bunker; many of the rooms have been altered for use by the sea cadets.

Photo:The operations room at Blakelaw Filter Room seen from the lower floor; this later became the Newcastle County Borough Main Control Centre. The TS Nelson ships mast can be seen in the foreground.
Photo by Nick Catford

One of the small rooms close to the emergency exit has been converted into a strong room with a secure steel door, inside this room there are a number of original cables, now cut off as they pass through the wall into the room. An adjacent room has been turned into a recreation area with a bar. At the west end on the north side there is a small room containing electrical switchgear which probably dates from the 1950's when the bunker was used as the main civil defence control for Newcastle County Borough, close to this room is the backfilled stairway down from the demolished main entrance. At the bottom of the stairway is a small room with a hand written notice on the wall relating to the timings of a Colour Ceremony performed by TS Nelson.

This map shows the position of the filter room in relation to the 13 Group Headquarters at Kenton Bar

The lower corridor is similar running around the north and east side of the side of the bunker and entering the operations room half way along the south side. On the north side the corridor continues down a short flight if steps into what was the ventilation plant room. Here there is evidence of ventilation trunking and there are a number of concrete machine beds still in place. The two level operations room was used as the 'deck' of TS Nelson and a short flagpole is still there lying on the floor. A small stage has been constructed to one side of the room indicating it has also been used for social functions by the sea cadets.

Photo:The ventilation plant room now stripped of all original fittings. An engine bed is still clearly visible at the back of the room.
Photo by Nick Catford

Again, all original fixtures and fittings on the lower level have been removed and one of the rooms has been converted into a kitchen. There is some standing water on the lower floor at the east end and some fire damage to furniture and a partition wall in one of the rooms.

Once a full survey of the bunker had been made the emergency exit door and grille and the entrance gate to the compound were rewelded by the council contractors.

See also: Unearthing the Kenton Bar bunker by Air Vice-Marshal Sandy Hunter CBE AFC - Defence Lines No. 5

Sources:

  • Archaeological Report on the Former 13 Group Fighter Command Headquarters Kenton Bar by Tyne & Wear Museums
  • Bob Jenner
  • Keith Ward
  • Various Proceedings of Newcastle upon Tyne Council (1938 - 1954)

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]

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Last updated 17th September 2005

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