Site Records


SiteName: North Weald Mobilisation Centre (aka North Weald Redoubt)

North Weald
Essex
TL505040

Subbrit site visit August 1996

[Source: Nick Catford]

North Weald was also to have housed the ammunition for the adjacent Kelvedon Hatch sector, which did not have a mobilisation centre of its own.

When the London Defence Scheme was abandoned in 1906, the Redoubt was retained as an ammunition store. In World War I the line of the London Defence Positions was reactivated as the inner stop line to resist a German invasion, though continuing on to Broxbourne rather than stopping at Epping as previously.

Photo:One of the WW2 Allen Williams Turrets
Photo by Nick Catford

The Marconi Co. brought the site and the surrounding land in 1920 and set up the Ongar Radio Station. Control of the site then passed in turn to the Imperial & International Communication Company, Cable & Wireless, the Post Office, British Telecom and, following its sale by British Telecom in 1995, to property developers.

During World War II, because of the importance of the radio station, it was classed as a Vulnerable Point. Special VP Troops were stationed there to protect it and two Allen Williams Turrets were installed, one on each flank. One former cartridge magazine was used as a dressing station, a faded red cross and the words 'First Aid' can be made out on the wail of the former shifting lobby.

Photo:Ongar Radio Station (The Redoubt is behind the camera position)
Photo by Nick Catford

The Redoubt is a scheduled ancient monument and while surviving remarkably intact down the years thanks to its previous owners, who maintained it to a large degree, the redoubt now stands empty and subject to the attention of vandals, both official and otherwise. Considerable damage has now been done, mainly to the caretakers cottages and external ammunition stores. The 'dry' ditch at the rear is now often wet due to a blocked drain, flooding the gorge casemates to their long term detriment.

It was hoped that some restoration would be done, probably as a 'sweetener' for the proposed redevelopment of the former radio station site by the new owners. The former radio station buildings were demolished after a fire in 1997 leaving the Redoubt and ancillary buildings standing. A new fences has been installed around the Redoubt but this has already been breeched and the site still open to local vandals and other casual visitors.

 

Entrance to the redoubt above the caponier

Ammunition Shaft

No. 1 Magazine

Artillery store

Lighting recesses

Looking through a shifting lobby into a magazine

Magazine with two lighng recesses and an issue hatch

Inside the caponier

Source: The London Mobilisation Centres by Alec Beanse and Roger Gill published by the Palmerston Forts Society ISBN 0 9523634 5 3

[Source: Nick Catford]

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