Site Records

South Wales Royal Observer Corps' No.13 Group HQ.

Picton Terrace

[Source: Nick Catford]

OS Grid Ref: SN405198
Date protected accommodation opened: December 1961
Date closed: 1992
Date of visit: 16.3.2000

Photo: External View.
Photo by Nick Catford
The Group Control, which consists of a standard design surface blockhouse with a purpose built two storey brick administration block alongside is located at the rear of the TA Centre and is accessed along a drive alongside the centre (SN405198). The protected centre opend in 1961 but the Carmarthen Group Control had been at this location since 1949 having moved there from the basement of the Lyric Cinema in the town.

Since stand down in 1992 the building has been leased to the Carmarthen Civil Protection unit who have maintained the bunker in superb original condition with most of its original fixtures and fittings from ROC days still intact. Their lease ran out at the end of March 2000 and the building has now been handed back to the Home Office for disposal. The following description was correct at the time of the visit.

The building is entirely clad in corrugated metal sheeting painted dark green, identical cladding to the TA centre which was `persuadably' built at the same time. A small open porch gives access to two doors left and right. The right hand door opens into a single narrow room containing a filtration unit. Having entered the left hand door you immediately turn right into the main spine corridor. The first room on the left is the former decontamination room followed by the dressing room both of which are now used as a store. The next two rooms are the ladies and men's toilets which are both complete and still functioning. The next room on the left is the officers room followed by the male dormitory. All the beds have been removed from the male dormitory and both rooms are now used for storage. The final room on the left is the female dormitory which still retains all its original bunks and bedding.

The first room on the right hand side of the corridor is the plant room which still retains all its filtration and ventilation plant and compressors all in good order. At the back of this room, double doors lead into the standby generator room which is also still in place and in good condition together with its control unit.

Photo: Control Room.
Photo by Nick Catford

The next room on the right is the main two storey control room which, apart from the tote boards which have been removed is much as it was when the last observers moved out.

Photo: The display maps - they still lit up at the time of our visit.
Photo by Nick Catford

The Perspex display screens showing the ROC clusters are still in place in their wooden mounts and the electricity supply to them is still connected and they lit up when the power was switched on. In front of them are the map tables still covered with maps (used by the Carmarthen protection unit) A door at the back of the control room leads into a room with tables and various items of radio equipment and this in turn leads into the BT room with a Faraday cage containing the BT exchange equipment still in place. The BT room leads back out to the main spine corridor. The next door along the corridor leads into the canteen and the final door is the kitchen with all its original fittings and a serving hatch into the canteen. Beyond the canteen the corridor turns to the right through two doors to the emergency exit at the back of the building.

Between the BT room and the control room, stairs lead up to the upper level consisting of a balcony around the control room. The underlet map table is still in place and working and all the telephones and seats around the balcony are still in place. At the back of the balcony is a display relating to the state of the air conditioning unit. The other two rooms at this level are the tank room, which still contained its tanks and the communications room which has been stripped of all equipment.

The usual instrument mountings were found on the roof with FSM and BPI pipes at the rear of the building and at a higher level, a GZI mounting on top of the radiator room which is accessed from the roof.

We were told that we could take anything that wasn't fixed down and arranged for a removal truck to visit the centre on 30th of March when all the display screens and numerous other items were removed and have been taken to the 28 Group Headquarters in Dundee which is owned by Sub Brit member Ward Westwater, here they will be reinstalled at a later date.

Rear of protected blockhouse

Side of protected blockhouse with the radio mast

Roof of protected blockhouse

Control Room

Control Room

Control room from balcony

Control room from balcony

Communications centre

BT Room

Communication Centre

Female Dormitory



Plant Room

Plant Room

Standby generator

[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated 21st August 2001

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