News: In 1834 a 13 metre long Iguanadon fossil was found in Queen’s Road in Maidstone
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover  (Read 10368 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JohnG

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 411
  • Appreciation 28
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 21:54:47 »
I have just been looking at a chart which has all the coast batteries around Dover marked on it, it is before WW2 and I would say it is is around WW1. it is a National Archive document WO 78/5101.  It has the observation post marked on it and labels it as a PF position for Langdon Battery, so that is why it was built and originally used for.  I am still looking in to its WW2 use, as we know Peter Ustinov was here for a while.  I have just got hold of his book 'Dear Me' which I hope will tell us what he was doing there, he then bought the building after the war as a writing retreat, bought it for £100 from the MoD.

David Price

  • Guest
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 17:21:37 »
Thanks for the information. As an observation post it makes sense although certain aspects like the small lights in the wall obviously had a purpose.  I did wonder whether someone had 'named it', well, quite obvious really as the War Dept. wouldn't have.

The original design and purpose would be interesting to learn about and the layout as built.

 

Offline JohnG

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 411
  • Appreciation 28
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 18:30:15 »
Firstly, regarding the magazine room, magazines do not generally have much in the way of windows, they are usually well ventilated to keep them dry but no windows.

Secondly, I have just been in contact with the owner who bought the building in 1977 and it was her who named it 'The Gun Emplacement' and that it never had a gun.  It has only been an observation post.

Sorry, that ends the magazine room. I hope to find out more about this building.

David Price

  • Guest
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 21:00:09 »
The room I refer to as the 'magazine room' has 4 small, approx 9"x 12" windows in one wall set quite high. It also has a larger sash window which I think is a later addition?

Yes, the OP I've seen is below the light.

The view from this point is now restricted due to trees, but I suspect originally pre-WW1 it would see clear to the east to where the Dover Patrol monument is and west seaward to beyond South Foreland light. It takes in a large area of sea plus anything approaching the beach at St Margarets.


My feeling is that the new structures of WW2 rendered this structure redundant for it's original use. The lack of info on the web suggests it doesn't feature in many publications on the topic.

As a regular and appreciative visitor to this house, I'd love to know more.

Offline JohnG

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 411
  • Appreciation 28
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 02:06:43 »
Can I ask why is the magazine room called that? If it was a magazine it would probably not have big windows. The other OP you talk about, do you mean the one on the cliff edge below the lighthouse? If so this was a WW2 Fortress Observation Post which reported directly back to Dover Castle.  I can not see a small gun being able to do much from this position, it would make more sense if it covered a landing area, the beach below perhaps.  The holes in the roof, it could have had a range finder on the roof.  It would be good to sort out the history of the building, I have often wondered but never seen it actually referred to in any documents where you could say definitely it was that building.  If it was built in 1910 it could well have been altered, added to, during WW2.

David Price

  • Guest
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 23:50:19 »
Thanks John G. Helpful. It appears that the roof might have had an observing/ranging role as there are two filled-in sections in the corridor ceiling suggesting possible vertical ladder ports and hatches. A room facing this corridor appears to have exterior sill drip moulds suggesting it was, at times exposed to the elements.

The magazine room also has a much larger window in it which suggests significant alterations later. The rear rooms have a chimney and parquet floors which suggests an office role too. The main room with the large opening is big enough for a gun and with the low lip seems to suggest the builder thought through that option even if a gun was not fitted. The low lip also leaves an observer very exposed compared to the later OP up the coast.

The position is good for all around view, but not as good as the (much newer) coastguard position by the Dover Patrol monument on the east cliff.

As for Peter Ustinov, details are a bit scant but mention him as a private in the Royal Sussex Regiment. He describes somewhere an occasion where he is on look out duty in the St Margaret's area on the cliffs - presumably this location. This night duty is with a Czech soldier. He finds communication difficult except in German and jokes that if Hitler had known that the defence of Britain came down to a Russian and a Czech speaking German, it might have been a different outcome. His stay was probably brief as other accounts say he spent most of the war with the film unit.

Offline JohnG

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 411
  • Appreciation 28
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 20:33:31 »
When Langdon Battery was built the 9.2 inch guns were able to traverse 360 degrees, as were the 6 inch guns.  In the Fort Record Book it mentions that the easterly 9.2 inch gun could be used to engage targets approaching from the north east and as the normal
Battery Observation Post could not cover this area a separate observation post was built in the St Margaret's area to cover that area, I understand this could be the observation post, it was built at the right time and covers the area.  For the period of time there is no other OP.
In WW2 the 9.2 inch guns at Langdon Battery had long gone.  The new batteries had their own BOPs.  I have never seen any record of the Royal Artillery using this OP but they may have done.  Do you know what did Peter Ustinov did there, was there a gun there, are there any signs of a holdfast and magazine.  What unit was Peter Ustinov in?  I have never been able to see inside the building.

David Price

  • Guest
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 16:44:49 »
Should add that I know all about it now - I'm sitting in it! What's the history? :)

David Price

  • Guest
Re: Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 15:44:35 »
I'm new to this forum and a regular visitor to Kent. Most years I stay at a holiday home called 'The Gun Emplacement' (to see pictures, web search this name) on the West Cliff above St Margarets Bay. From the little I know, it was apparently built in 1910. Bought by Peter Ustinov in 1946, it was converted into a holiday home as he was stationed there during the war.

Now the questions. This site does not feature on any WW2 map or article (I've seen that is). I'm assuming it had something like a 6" gun here during WW1 but by WW2 it had perhaps changed to a watch office. It has office space and some interesting interior features as a house/office but still retains some small magazine windows, blast shutters which look WW2 and interesting layout inside. It's made of concrete, and the front opening, now a picture window, is set quite low and unlike an OP.

The road outside leads directly to the South Foreland lighthouse and gun battery behind which seems from all descriptions, a self sufficient underground fort.

Any information welcome!


BenG

  • Guest
Observation Post / Gun Emplacement - St. Margarets, Dover
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 17:48:21 »
Found this while having a 'Google'

The Gun Emplacement was built in 1910 by the Army as a look-out post. Peter Ustinov was
stationed here in WW2 & bought it after the War. I modernised it in 2000 to make a tranquil retreat from city life.



And I think this is it from the air:



Its now a self catering holiday cottage, would make a good base for a week to explore the cliff tops
 if your not local to Dover :)

http://www.holidayhomerental.co.uk/Listings/England/South_East_England/Kent/St_Margarets_Bay/279a7d6131d44364a61be1c444384ce9.htm

 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines