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Author Topic: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise  (Read 8176 times)

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Offline mmitch

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Re: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2011, 10:53:55 »
I can remember an army camp in that area in the 1950s. During the Suez 'crisis' in 1956 there was a stream of army lorries going along Wrotham road to that camp in their normal 'drab green' and coming back painted sand colour!
 Now the road has been moved to the South there is a mobile phone tower on roughly that position.
mmitch.

paul baylis

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Re: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2010, 16:20:33 »
Hi,
I visited the site some 25 years ago and took a series of photos of the emplacements. On a sketch map I recorded the positions that I took each photo from. If anyone would like copies of any of these please contact me at paulbaylis[at]yahoo.co.uk.
I would also like to see any photos that others may have taken in the past.
Paul.

davidb

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Re: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 15:41:00 »
I visited this site with a couple of people from the Museum of London to guide them around it and give them some sort of idea what they were looking at so that they could tender for the survey. The accommodation buildings were very obviously of two different periods and occupied two distinct and separate sites.
The huts closest to the guns were very well built and stood on dwarf brick walls: these I took to be the battery's original (i.e. pre-War) buildings. Those further from the guns, and in a separate 'cluster', had a distinctly cheap and cheerful (if not cheap and nasty) appearance, stood on brick piers (fewer bricks needed) and had all the appearance of being a 'rush' job. They had not survived anywhere near as well and several of them appeared to be on the point of collapse. These I think were of wartime construction, and so probably housed the female personnel.

Offline Paul

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Re: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2009, 10:59:11 »
Could this be an ROC site?

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=sk250ph0wngb&scene=29560151&lvl=2&sty=b

To the left looks like Stonehenge :)
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

ferret

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Re: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2009, 10:07:34 »
some pics from a visit in 1997

Offline Islesy

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Re: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2009, 19:06:55 »
Yes it is Paul - interestingly, if you switch to Aerial view on that link, it takes you back in time to when the CTRL compound was being built.
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Offline Paul

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Re: Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2009, 17:34:37 »
If this is the place?
There still seems to be a compound there.

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=sk27j7h0wkdc&scene=29560151&lvl=1&sty=b
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline Islesy

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Northumberland Bottom HAA site, near Istead Rise
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2009, 16:38:51 »
In September 1938 the Thames and Medway Gun Defended Area had 24 HAA sites rising to 72 during 1940. In April 1938 the TS17 Northumberland Bottom was chosen as a suitable location for a four-gun 4.5 inch HAA battery and by 1942 the records show that the camp was fitted with four guns and a radar station.

The manning increased from 312 (76 regimental and 236 Battery) in May 1942 to 747 in December 1943. Since the regimental staff of 169 consisted of male and female mixed personnel, some 'doubling up' may have occurred or even two separate camps might have been established; like many AA gun battery sites, no war time plan is known to exist. As the site does not appear to have been designated  a 'Diver' (anti V1) battery it is possible that guns may have been withdrawn and re-deployed elsewhere in 1944.

In January 1946 the camp was declared 'off-site' and unmanned in the course of the post-war 'Nucleus' programme, with guns and equipment being transferred to local Ordnance Depots. The site appears to have been used as a civil defence training camp after the war. An underground Royal Observer Corps observation post was established in the vicinity of the site in the Cold War but its location has not been established (this may have been Greenhithe, TQ60837340 which opened in 1965, closing in 1989).

The Museum of London Archaeology Service (MoLAS) was commissioned by Union Railways (South) Limited (URS) to undertake a detailed standing building survey at Northumberland Bottom Army Camp, Kent (site code ARC NBAC 98). This work formed part of an extensive programme of archaeological investigations carried out in advance of the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL). The work was in advance of the clearance of the site to make way for a construction camp and the CTRL railway cutting.

The site was centred on URS grid point 43850 E  51150 N and NGR grid point TQ 638711 and had an area of 7 hectares. Comprising a second World War anti-aircraft gun battery and its associated domestic encampment, there were twenty-six single storey buildings on the site, some of which were of post war date. As well as the buildings there were a number of standing structures, partially buried structures, foundations and original roads and tracks surviving on the site. None of the buildings were listed.

The military structures and buildings recorded formed only part of the total number of military structures known to have existed. Many structures remain unlocated but levels information suggests that some of these may have survived in a buried state. Evidence of other features, like the radar, may hav
e been too slight to survive. Many of the internal layouts of the buildings were recovered and in one case a large amount of the original fixtures survived. However, the function of many of the buildings was not discernible from the surviving structural evidence.

At the time of the survey (1999) some of the buildings were still inhabited, others were derelict and unsafe to enter. The buildings were constructed mainly of wood with asbestos roofing and gutters, others being concrete/block structures and one steel framed. The buildings of the southern part of the camp had been converted into riding school stables, and some other buildings (stables and a barn) were added. Several of the north-western buildings were occupied, including houses, kennels and a used car lot. The area of the best preserved gun emplacement was being used as a dung heap.
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