Site Records

SiteName: North Weald - Ongar Radio Transmitting Station

North Weald Bassett
OS Grid Ref: TL506040

Sub Brit site visit August 1996

[Source: Nick Catford]

In 1971 Ongar Radio was refitted with transmitting equipment costing 1M. A total of 23 new self tuning high frequency radio transmitters made Ongar one of the most up-to-date radio stations of its kind in the world transmitting telephone, telegraph and facsimile services to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia from the new rhombic aerials which replaced the now outdated beam arrays. Its new status was however short lived.

Photo:The main site at Ongar
Photo by Nick Catford

After 1971 the national high frequency rationalisation scheme then being implemented concentrated the maritime telegraph service at Rugby and Ongar and this eventually became Ongar's main function. As Ongar was refitted the station at Slip End near Baldock closed with its traffic being passed to Post Office radio stations at Bearley in Warwickshire and Somerton in Somerset. Due to the spread of satellite, cable and fibre optic communications the existing stations were gradually closed over the next 20 years. The buildings at Ongar were put to other uses; one building on the main site being used as a BT engine generator test centre while some of the more distant buildings were put to farm use.

Same view as above taken in the 1950's

By the mid 1990's all the aerials had gone and the site had been abandoned and vandalised. Most of the buildings were demolished after a fire in 1997 and the site has now been sold to a property developer. North Weald Redoubt is a listed building and will escape any redevelopment of the site. Work started in November 2002 on a new pay and play golf course that will occupy 160 acres of the site. The 18 hole par 71 course is expected to open in the summer of 2005.

North Weald Station in 1962 - The Ongar Radio masts can be seen in the background

Building on approach road to the main site

Aerial mast guying point

Unknown building with main block in the background

Unknown Building

Source: Post Office Engineering Journal

[Source: Nick Catford]

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