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The Bunker, Whittingham Lane, Goosnargh, Preston, Lancashire- Building Investigation

Ridings, Christopher (2008) The Bunker, Whittingham Lane, Goosnargh, Preston, Lancashire- Building Investigation. Project Report. OA North. (Unpublished)

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Brian Cox requested that Oxford Archaeology North (OA North) undertake a building investigation of the former RAF ‘filter’ bunker at Whittingham Lane, Goosnargh, Preston, Lancashire, (SD 54950 36250) (Fig 1), prior to its proposed conversion to a single residence. Lancashire County Archaeology Service (LCAS) recommended a building investigation of English Heritage (2006) Level II standard, which included a rapid map regression in conjunction with a site investigation comprising written descriptions, an extensive photographic record, and drawings of the floor plans and sections.
The building investigation was undertaken over three days in May 2006 and was conducted thoroughly in accordance with the specification. It was evident from this inspection that some alterations had taken place during the seventy years since the bunker was built, but these were by no means extensive. Certainly, door handles and electrical fittings had been replaced, whilst several of the rooms had been remodelled with the insertion of cinder block partitions. However, there appeared to be few significant alterations, which were apparent.
The filter bunker features in several specialist pieces of literature that have been written about Second World War and Cold War sites in Britain. The bunker was constructed by the RAF in the early 1940s as part of the Langley Lane complex, which was one of four similar sites built during the 1940s, with the other three situated at Inverness, Kenton Bar (Newcastle upon Tyne) and Watnall (Nottinghamshire). Each of these installations featured three buildings comprising operations, a filter block and a communications block. This Preston-based complex served as 9 Group Operations Centre Fighter Command, with the bunker on Whittingham Lane functioning as the filter block, whilst the operations and communications facilities were situated on Langley Lane itself. The filter block was used throughout the rest of the war, and its primary function was the collation and filtering of signals and other information, prior to dissemination.
The building was then remodelled as the Western Sector base for the ROTOR radar project, during the early Cold War of the 1950s, but the project was superseded before it had even been fully implemented, in light of the burgeoning Soviet nuclear capability and the development of Soviet supersonic high-altitude bombers.
In spite of this, the complex was used by 21 Group Royal Observation Corps (ROC), working under the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation (UKWMO) from the late 1950s onwards. The UKWMO used Langley Lane as its Western Sector Headquarters and later as its alternative supreme headquarters. This occupancy continued well into the late twentieth century until both the UKWMO and the ROC were disbanded in the early 1990s, following the end of the Cold War.
It is unclear if either the UKWMO or the ROC used the filter bunker building as part of their operations during the Cold War. For at least some of that time, the filter bunker seems to have been used in a separate capacity as the Regional Armed Forces Headquarters and was last occupied by them in 1992. Since then the facility has been left vacant, and has passed into private ownership.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Lancashire
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology North
Depositing User: Sandra Bonsall
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2015 11:37
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2018 09:51
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/2335

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