Monument record ORF 154 - Control Room circa 1960

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Control Room circa 1960, consisting of a large single storey rectangular building of brick cavity wall construction faced in Burwell whites laid to stretcher bond.


Grid reference Centred TM 4332 4811 (38m by 30m)
Map sheet TM44NW


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

2007: Field survey of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment by Historic England (S1).
Structure E4: The Control Room is a large single storey rectangular building of brick cavity wall construction faced in Burwell whites laid to stretcher bond. It has a flat roof composed of reinforced concrete beams with concrete block infill and is felt covered. The building may be divided into two sections. The west of the building is slightly taller and wider with a central east-west longitudinal corridor. This may be entered from main entrance from the east and from the west end through a set of double-wooden doors with a louvred vent above. Internally, suspended from its ceiling are various heating and electrical pipes and there are the remains of flourescent lighting tubes. To either side of this corridor are six bays, three to the front and three to the rear all with cable ducts in their floors. To reduce nosie their walls and ceilings were covered by pierced, square plasterboard panels mounted on wooden batons. The southwest room comprises a large open room comprising two bays. The upper sections of the windows appear to have been glazed in a yellow-tinted perspex while the lower windows were glazed in clear glass. It is, however, known that a film company used the building and the yellow perspex, or sugar glass, originate from their activities. Each bay was lit by a large metal-framed ten-light window shielded with internal venetian blinds. Below the windows the exterior walls are finished in a red asphalt-like surface render.

At the east end there is a slightly lower and narrower block which housed the buildings service functions. This was entered through a recessed central porch floored with pink and white chequered flagstones. On the south wall to the west of the entrance are 3 single metal-framed windows set in precast concrete frames. On the return is a large 4 light metal-framed window set in a metal frame lighting a small messenger’s room. The building was entered on the west side of the porch and to the east is a small enclosed room. A scar marks the position of a single-skin brick and metal-framed glass entrance to front. Internally, the entrance was separated from a small cloak room to the east by a timber framed partition. To the west of the entrance is a small self contained switch room and on the front of the building to the west, a small self contained store room with evidence for a sliding door to the central corridor. To the rear of the entry porch is a widowless photographic dark room room with a number of switches and junction boxes attached to its walls. To its east is a single pink-painted (ladies)lavatory. To its east is the cleaners’ room with a tile-lined floor. In the northwest corner of the building is a large gents locker room with showers and toilets. The east end of the building is floored in blue and white chequerboard pattern linoleum tiles. At the east end of the main coridor is a small lilac-pink painted tea room room. In the southeast corner of the building is a large lilac-pink mess painted room with a large 8 light metal framed window to the south, originally glazed in yellow perspex. Internally, are two large radiators, a single electric socket and a single light switch. The east end of the building is light by four 3-light metal framed windows set in concrete frames. On the north side is a small self-contained brick calorifier room. On the roof, at its centre, is a raised brick water header tank.

The building cost £33,000.


Sources/Archives (2)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Cocroft, W. and Alexander, M.. 2009. Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Orford Ness, Suffolk Cold War Research & Development Site Survey Report. 10-2009. Structure No. E4.
  • <S2> Digital archive: Historic England. The National Heritage List for England. List entry Number: 1416933.

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Record last edited

Mar 16 2018 12:48PM

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