Ayr was the Royal Observer Corps’ No.25 Group HQ, in the UKWMO Caledonian Sector.
The owners of 25 Group ROC HQ at Ayr, who are the local church, have decided that they have no use for the building and it should be demolished at the earliest opportunity to provide extra car parking space. In order to record the structure before demolition, a short notice visit was arranged by Sub Brit member Ward Westwater for the 10th February to record the structures and negotiate with the church the removal of any remaining artefacts before demolition.
The Group control is located at 17 Waterloo Road, Prestwick, a residential area at the rear of Sainsbury’s Car Park. It consists of a small adapted house (with doors and windows now bricked up) and a prefabricated administration block now used as a nursery. The protected group control, which was opened in 1962, is of the standard surface blockhouse design but unusually it’s clad in square section corrugated metal sheeting and painted bright green.
Externally it appears in excellent condition. There is an emergency exit at the western end, opposite Sainsbury’s car park with the main entrance at the opposite end, along side the boarded up house. An open recessed entrance leads to two blast doors. That on the right, which could not be opened leads to the filter room while that on the left leads to the main spine corridor. Rooms on the left hand side were, in order, the decontamination room, dressing room, ladies toilet, men’s toilet, officers room, male dormitory and female dormitory. All these rooms have been completely stripped apart from the officers room which has a large chart on one wall headed ‘Control Logistics Tote’ and ‘Post Logistics Tote’ with a lot of information relating to the running of the control centre. There was a map of Western Scotland showing the position of posts on the opposite wall. There is also a key cabinet containing over 50 keys, presumably all from the centre. All the toilets were still functioning.
On the east side of the corridor the wall of the lobby area has been partially removed along with part of the wall into the first (plant room) room which has been cut away to allow the removal of the generator which was sold by the church shortly after they acquired the site. Much of the ventilation plant, which was installed shortly before stand down, has also been removed and sold although some of the older plant and filters are still intact. The main control panel in a floor standing cabinet is still intact and in use. At the back of the plant room another door leads into the generator room which is now being used as a store for redundant equipment from the centre. The generator control panel in a floor standing cabinet is still in place. There are several WB1401 speech receivers lying on the floor and a mass of paperwork referring to the plant and the general operation of the centre. All the Perspex map screens from the control room are also stacked in this room.
Adjacent to the plant room is the two storey control room. This is strewn with rubbish and the partition wall with windows has been ripped out. On the gallery above a Bomb Power Indicator (BPI) is still in place on the wall with the bottom of the pipe for a Fixed Survey Meter (FSM). There is a large cluster map of Scotland alongside the BPI and another wall chart behind. On the opposite wall of the gallery is a rotating sign relating to the current status of the ventilation plant. At this upper level was the Coms room which is completely stripped and the tank room which is locked. Returning to the main corridor. After the control room there is a small store which is empty, stairs up to the gallery and BT equipment room which is locked. Apparently it has been stripped and is now used as a store. Next room is the canteen with its hatch into the kitchen. This has been used as a meeting room for a local drama group. Everything in the kitchen is intact. Beyond the kitchen a short passage to the right through two doors leads to the emergency exit.
Internally apart from the damage caused during the removal of the generator the structure of the building is sound with a little damp visible on some walls. The power is on throughout and the ventilation trunking is in place.
Ward Westwater suggested to the people from the Church that it might be worth considering other options for the building including lottery funding, but they said on moral grounds they would be unable to accept this. There did not seem to be any problem in removing all the remaining artefacts before demolition. Some items including the tables from the control room, were taken out shortly after the Church acquired the site and are now on display at the Anstruther museum.
UPDATE: THIS BUILDING HAS NOW BEEN DEMOLISHED