Site Records

Site Name: Lawford Heath - 8 Group (Coventry) ROC HQ

Lawford Heath

OS Grid Ref: SP457736
Date protected accommodation opened: 2.11.1963
Date closed: 1992
Location: On the edge of the former RAF Lawford Heath, Rugby, Warwickshire.
Description: EXTANT

After the scrapping of UKWMO (in about 1992), the Home Office considered using this bunker as a Regional Government Headquarters in place of the one at Drakelow, but in the event this never happened.

RSG Site Visit Report: 21st December 2000

[Source: Nick Catford]

8 Group ROC HQ is located on the edge of the former RAF Lawford Heath a few miles outside Rugby. After ROC stand-down in 1991, the bunker and the substantial administration block became Regional Government HQ 9.2 and was considered as a replacement for Drakelow. This was short lived however and within a few months the building became redundant and it was sold to a local business partnership for 50,000. During the next few years it was only used for illegal raves and parties and quickly fell into disrepair. In 1997 the site was sold to the present owners Satellite Media Services who provide an international Internet service as well as providing the feed for IRN (Independent Radio News) and various local radio shared programmes. The administration block has been completely refurbished and altered and as well as offices houses the company's satellite equipment. It is their intention however to move much of this into the protected `bunker' which is currently being completely refurbished. This work is expected to be completed by December 2000.

Photo: Original entrance now faced in brick and barely recognisable.
Photo by Nick Catford

Photo: The surface leval of the bunker in 1994, shortly before the site was sold.
Photo by Adrian Armishaw

The bunker is of the semi-sunken variety with steps up to the original entrance blockhouse which contained the decontamination and filter rooms. Apart from the original porch which remains in place, the building has now been clad in brick. The three rooms at this level remain intact though completely stripped of original fittings. Stairs lead down to the main east - west spine corridor. At the bottom of the stairs a new entrance has been constructed in the east wall which links to a new 50 yard covered walkway to the admin. block. All the rooms on the south side of the corridor (dormitory's and toilets) have been gutted and are being refurbished. The corridor wall itself has been removed and a new curving wall built in its place. The former officers' room at the western end has become the new toilet. The rooms along the northern side of the corridor are still largely intact but completely refurbished with lowered ceilings although it is still possible to identify the plant room, generator room, kitchen, canteen, BT room and balcony.

Photo: The control room with its well and balcony has been retained and refurbished.
Photo by Nick Catford

Photo: View from the balcony showing the A & B displays in 1994.
Photo by Adrian Armishaw

The balcony is being retained as an area for visitors to look down into the new 'control room'. All the woodwork on the balcony has been stripped out and replaced with chromed railings. At the northern end of the east - west spine corridor the former emergency exit has been rebuilt with a wooden porch.

The original stairs lead down to the bottom level where the control room is intact and will soon become the hub of the new complex. The communications room alongside is intact and refurbished. The pump up lattice radio mast lies on its side close by as do the original Perspex display screens which the company kindly donated to us.

Most of the construction work is now complete but many of the electrical fittings and wiring still have to be installed and although one room has been carpeted and contains a number of electrical cabinets that are in use, most of the rooms have yet to be decorated and furnished.

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last update 15th April 2012

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