Site Records


Site Name: Kenton Bar - 13 Group Fighter Command Headquarters and Region 1 Regional War Room

Kenton Lane
Kenton Bar
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NZ216674

Sub Brit site visit 1st December 2004

[Source: Nick Catford]

Adjacent to the dormitories is the mess room which still retains its serving counter, food preparation table, Butler sink, water heater and large extractor hood, but had otherwise been cleared of original fittings. A blackboard on the wall recorded the menu of the day, though this appeared to have been altered since the last time it had been used. Adjacent to the mess room was the AOC Office which has further acoustic telephone booths and a small service lift to the lower level.

Photo:The kitchen
Photo by Nick Catford

There are three cabins in a line overlooking the operations room well below these originally had curved glass windows, much of the glass has been removed or has been broken. One of these cabins has been identified as the AA liaison officer's cabin and in the centre was the controller's cabin. There is a further formerly glass fronted viewing area on the north side of the operations room
The lower floor is smaller with a corridor running around three sides.

The heart of the bunker is the two level operations room. This has been stripped of many of its original features, including the floor. The original art deco ceiling lights are still in place which are still accessible via two gantries which run across the underside of the ceiling.

Photo:Two of the cabins in the operations room with the gantry for accessing the lights
Photo by Bob Jenner

The large room behind the operations room has further acoustic telephone booths to the south wall and a central service lift up to the AOC office above; it also has windows looking into the adjoining rooms and appears to have been a central communications area from which messages could be circulated around the bunker.

There is a further toilet on the lower level with a large Belfast sink with a single WC cubicle. Next to this there is a small room containing the sewage ejectors.

At the north east corner of the lower corridor a stairway leads directly from the lower floor to the emergency exit on the east side of the mound above. There was a pair of gas tight doors at the bottom of the stairs. On the surface the emergency exit consists of a small brick blockhouse with a metal door.

Photo:The battery room
Photo by Nick Catford

The battery room at the east end of the lower floor is lined with Darlington Tiles throughout in case of an acid spill. The batteries are in position along the east wall, and there are tables and work benches along the west wall. Some maintenance logs for these batteries are still in the room and record the last periodic check of the state of the batteries as having taken place in June 1968.

Photo:Aerial view of the Kenton Bar site with the two radio masts still in place

The normal war room design included the standby generator within air conditioning plant room but as Kenton utilised the former RAF Group HQ the original standby set house was also reused. This stands on the east side of the compound and is now used by Northern Electric Distribution as an electricity substation.

The Kenton Royal Observer Corps post was also located within the complex of governent buildings, this was demolished in 2004 during the redevelopment of the site.

See also: RAF Blakelaw (Bunker 13) web site
Unearthing the Kenton Bar bunker by Air Vice-Marshal Sandy Hunter CBE AFC - Defence Lines No. 5 the magazine of the Defence of Britian Project

Sources:

  • Archaeological Report on the Former 13 Group Fighter Command Headquarters Kenton Bar by Tyne & Wear Museums
  • Bob Jenner
  • Keith Ward
  • Air Vice-Marshall Sandy Hunter
  • Operational Record Book (PRO)
  • Various PRO files
  • Various Proceedings of Newcastle upon Tyne Council (1938 - 1954)

Special thanks to Fred Garratt & Julie Parker from Tyne & Wear Museums Archaeology Department who accompanied us on the visit and brought a generator and temporary lighting; their help was invaluable.

 

Fred

Julie
 

For further pictures of Kenton Bar click here

Click here for Blakelaw Filter Room

[Source: Nick Catford]

home.gif Home Page
Last updated 15th September 2005

© 2005 Subterranea Britannica