Monument record ORF 069 - Marine navigation beacon tower circa 1928
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|Grid reference||Centred TM 44508 48810 (8m by 6m)|
|Civil Parish||ORFORD, SUFFOLK COASTAL, SUFFOLK|
Type and Period (4)
An early experimental marine navigation radio beacon tower and associated power house are visible as structures on aerial photographs from 1940 onwards, located on the beach at Orfordness at circa TM44514880 (S1, S2). These buildings were probably constructed circa 1928, and are referred to as 'The W/T Transmitter Building (Radio Research)' in Kinsey's history of Orfordness. They were used in ship-to-shore communications experiments until the end of the 1920s, and possibly in early radio-location (or RADAR) experiments but there is a possibility this is one of many myths to later develop about the early work on Orfordness (S3-4).
2007: Field survey of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment by Historic England (S5).
Structure G1: The Black Beacon is an octagonal tower set on a mass concrete base with buttresses at each corner standing to a height of 2.9m (9ft 6ins), each of its walls measures 2.7m (8ft 10ins). In its north elevation is a 4 light wooden casemate window with a tile sill protected by an iron grille, below the window is a hole through which protrude a bunch of cut-off co-axial cables. In the south elevation is an identical window. To the west is an abutting brick concrete entry porch. To the north a set of double wooden outward opening doors give access to the west side of the octagonal brick base. Internally are remains of electrical switch gear. The upper storeys of the Black Beacon are timber framed and covered by tarred weather boards and it has a felt roof, its eastern side is protected by a lightning conductor. Entry to the beacon is at first floor level by means of a modern flight of wooden and steel stairs. Its first floor is lit by wooden 4 light windows with central hinges in its northwest, southwest, southeast and northeast sides. On the second storey are hinged observation ports on all side. The tower continued into use with AWRE and adjacent to it was a telemetry mast whose concrete footings survive.
GRADE II LISTED BUILDING (S6)
Constructed in 1928 as part of the Bombing Experimental Establishment, refurbished by the AWRE during the 1950s and converted into an exhibition space in 1995.
MATERIALS A wooden superstructure on a concrete plinth, re-clad in weatherboarding.
PLAN The Black Beacon has an octagonal plan.
EXTERIOR The concrete base extends to 2.9m in height and has buttresses to each corner. The upper storeys of the tower are timber framed and covered by tarred weather boards. The building has a felt roof and is protected by a lightning conductor attached to the east side. In the north and south elevation of the Black Beacon is a 4-light wooden casement window with a tile sill protected by an iron grille. To the west is an abutting brick entry porch. To the north a set of double wooden outward opening doors give access to the west side of the octagonal base. Entry to the beacon is at first floor level by a modern flight of wooden and steel stairs. Its first floor is lit by wooden, 4-light windows. On the second storey are hinged observation ports on all sides.
INTERIOR Within the porch are remains of electrical switch gear. The interior of the Black Beacon and generator building house an exhibition, but no longer contain equipment relating to their previous functions.The timber central drive shaft is original to the beacon use, however.
SUBSIDIARY BUIILDING Adjacent to the Black Beacon is the rectangular power house, subsequently used as a workshop. The generator building is brick built and measures c.8m x 6m with gable ends lit by wooden ocular windows, and to the north probably retains its original wooden windows. Later modifications include the addition of a porch, and an outshot to the east that has subsequently been removed.
- <S1> SSF50005 Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 2E/BR11/12 13-14 08-JUL-1940.
- <S2> SSF50005 Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/929 4373-4 16-OCT-1945.
- <S3> SXS50131 Bibliographic reference: Gordon Kinsey. 1981. Orfordness - Secret Site, A History of the Establishment 1915-1980. Kinsey, G. (1981).
- <S4> SXS50132 Verbal communication: Angus Wainwright. Angus Wainwright, Verbal Communication. September 2003.
- <S5> SSF56353 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. G1.
- <S6> SSF56379 Digital archive: Historic England. The National Heritage List for England. List entry Number: 1416868.
- None recorded
Related Monuments/Buildings (1)
Related Events/Activities (1)
Record last edited
Jun 9 2016 2:21PM