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Chain Home Station Ch04

Hob Uid: 1350388
Location :
Kent
Dover
Guston, St. Margaret's At Cliffe
Grid Ref : TR3368043094
Summary : The surviving remnants of the Chain Home radar station at Swingate, one mile to the north-east of Dover Castle. The station was operational from the late 1930s and in use throughout the Second World War, including the Battle of Britain, during which it was briefly put out of action by a "near miss" from enemy bombers. When established, the site would have been characterised by four transmitting aerials on 350ft steel towers, four receiving aerials on 240ft timber towers, and the control buildings. The transmitter site was centred at TR 3345 4293 and the receiver site to the north-east at TR 3386 4329. In the early 1950s the station was technically restored under the Rotor programme. The station closed in 1955 and the smaller recieving masts were removed and the three larger masts retained. Today the transmitters provide BBC FM radio services to those parts of south-east Kent not served by the Wrotham station. One of the towers was the British end of the first live cross-channel TV transmission on 27 August 1950.
More information : The surviving remnants from the Chain Home radar station at Swingate, one mile to the north-east of Dover Castle. Operational from the late 1930s to 1945, and from 1950-1956 under the ROTOR programme, it included two transmitting towers and one replacement tower. When established, the site would have been characterised by four transmitting aerials on 350ft steel towers, four receiving aerials on 240ft timber towers, and the control buildings. The station closed in 1955 and the smaller receiving masts were removed and the three larger masts retained. Today the transmitters provide BBC FM radio services to those parts of south-east Kent not served by the Wrotham station. One of the towers was the British end of the first live cross-channel TV transmission on 27 August 1950. (1-2)

A Chain Home radar station at Dover/Swingate. The following NGRs were given: General in 1939- TR 338 433; General in 1953- TR 335 429; Receiver block in 1941- TR 338 431; Vulnerable Points in 1942: 125 (LA1)- TR 346 434; Vulnerable Point 125 (LA2)- TR 349 429; Vulnerable Point 125 (LA3)- TR 339 428; Vulnerable Point 125 (LA4)- TR 333 434. The station was established between 1936 and 1938. (3)

The Rotor programme was developed to advance the wartime radar technology in detecting and locating fast-flying jets. It was approved by the Air Council in June 1950. The first phase of the programme, Rotor 1, was to technically restore existing Chain Home, centrimetric early warning, Chain Home Extra Low and Ground Controlled Interception stations and put them under the control of RAF Fighter Command. There were three main components to the Rotor stations: the technical site, including the radars, operation blocks and other installations; the domestic site, where personnel were accommodated; and the stand-by set house, a reserve power supply. The technical site at Swingate Rotor station was located at TR 335 429. The domestic site was situated at TR 356 444 and the stand-by set house was co-located at the technical site. (4-6)

Aerial photography from 1995 shows that the transmission section at TR 335 429 is in excellent condition. It is visible with its operations block, stand-by set house, seven ancillary buildings of various sizes, and four sets of aerial bases, three of which retain their original steel towers. Buried transmitter and receiver sections and their associated aerial bases are seen at TR 336 433. The receiver section at TR 339 432 contains a well-preserved operations block, four sets of aerial bases and building bases. A standing building in the north-east corner is post-1967 in date. (7)

The Dover Chain Home Station was briefly put out of action on 15th August 1940 in the aftermath of the Luftwaffe's "Adlertag" mass assault during the Battle of Britain. Specifically this was due to "near misses" from enemy bombers, which severed the power supply. (8)

Listed. For the designation record of this site please see The National Heritage List for England. (9-10)

Transmitter Tower 3 was demolished in March 2010. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : 20th century defences in Britain : Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 26
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Source Number : 2
Source : Kent's Defence Heritage
Source details : Gazetteer Part 2: KD170
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Source Number : 3
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 7. Acoustics and radar: England's early warning systems 1915-1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 28,160
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Cold War: Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989
Source details :
Page(s) : 86-110
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume XI.1. The Cold War (text)
Source details :
Page(s) : 36-58
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Source Number : 6
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume XI.2. The Cold War (Appendices)
Source details :
Page(s) : 151
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Source Number : 7
Source : Twentieth Century Military Recording Project: Cold War Rotor Stations
Source details :
Page(s) : 59
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Source Number : 8
Source : Bravery, Sacrifice, Freedom: Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary 1940-2010
Source details :
Page(s) : 104
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Source Number : 9
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : [13-JUL-2012] Dover
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Source Number : 10
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2013. ‘English Heritage: The National Heritage List for England’, < http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1403955 > [Accessed 17-APR-2013]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : Operational in late 1930s
Monument End Date : 1937
Monument Start Date : 1937
Monument Type : Chain Home Station, Transmitter Site, Radar Station
Evidence : Structure, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : Remodelled in early 1950s
Monument End Date : 1956
Monument Start Date : 1950
Monument Type : Radar Station, Chain Home Station
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Second World War
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Radar Station, Chain Home Station, Operations Block
Evidence : Structure, Demolished Building, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 21st Century
Display Date : 21st century
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Broadcasting Transmitter
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 99441
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Non Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : 3074
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1405534
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1405533
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1403955
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TR 34 SW 513
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1477137
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1476512
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1417760
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1487662
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE DEFENCE OF BRITAIN PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-04-01
End Date : 2002-03-01
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31