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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 957630

Hob Uid: 957630
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Porlock
Grid Ref : SS8647048004
Summary : A Second World War type 24 pillbox, located on Porlock Beach. The pillbox was constructed in 1940-41 and built of breeze blocks and concrete with the outer face lined with large beach pebbles. A field survey in 1994 found that the pillbox had collapsed on its north side due to the shingle being washed away and the whole inside was filled with shingle. The pillbox is polygonal (roughly D-shaped) in plan, measuring 5.3 metres northwest/southeast by 4.8 metres, although the beach pebble covering gives it a more foter, rounded shape. It is 1.3 metres high on the southwest side and 0.3 metres high on the undermined north side. It has a flat concrete roof whose centre contains a socket (0.15 metres square) . The perimeter of the roof contains rectangular sockets. The entrance in the inland southwest side was also blocked by shingle. There are five peripheral splayed loopholes for anti-tank guns and two smaller, machine gun or rifle, loopholes flanking the entrance. This pillbox, visible as a structure, was mapped from aerial photographs taken in 1941 and 1946. The structure's function was disguised in 1941 with the addition of a false conical pitched roof which was still extant in 1960, but which was no longer visible in 1972. The attachment of this substantial camouflage feature is likely to explain the features visible on the pillbox roof. The pillbox was still extant in 2005, slumped forward on the seaward (north facing) side.
More information : SS 86471 48004. The remains of a World War II strong post, or 'pillbox' set in the top of the massive pebble ridge skirting Porlock Beach about 9m above OD and 10m W of Porlock Weir quay. It has clear views of Porlock Bay and the Bristol Channel from Hurlstone Point in the E to The Gore in the W.

The basic construction is of breeze blocks and concrete with outer face lined with large beach pebbles. The pillbox has collapsed on its N side due to the shingle being washed away and the whole inside is now filled with shingle. The pillbox is polygonal (roughly D-shaped) in plan, 5.3m NW/SE by 4.8m. It is 1.3m high on the SW side and 0.3m high on the undermined N side. It has a flat concrete roof whose centre contains a socket (0.15m square) probably for a radio antennae or flagpole. The perimeter of the roof contains rectangular sockets presumably for a wooden fence. The entrance in the inland SW side is also blocked by shingle. There are five peripheral splayed loopholes for anti-tank guns and two smaller, machine gun or rifle, loopholes flanking the entrance. The pillbox appears to be of typical Type 24 construction. Its situation, with clear views of the other pillboxes in the area, and its roof features (not seen on the other pillboxes) suggest it might have been the command post for the area.

The design of this pillbox is based on the FW 3 Type 24 which was suitable for a garrison of 8 or 9 men and a maximum of 5 anti-tank/light machine guns and 2 rifles (a). Its construction appears almost identical to the other four pillboxes (SS 84 NE 44, 45, 46, and 48) situated arouns Porlock Bay which suggests they were all built to design plan (FW 3/24) by the same contrator.

Note: The design of pillboxes was the responsibility of FW3, a branch of the Directorate of Fortifications and Works at the War Office (a),

Published Survey (b) 1:2500 correct. (1)

Standard type 24 pillbox, camouflaged with pebbles. The foundations have collapsed, resulting in the pillbox tilting forward art an angle. Entrance blocked - no access.
LOCATION: The Quay, Porlock Weir. (2)

SS 8647 4800 A Second World War type 24 pillbox, visible as a structure, was mapped from aerial photographs taken in 1941 and 1946. Located on the shingle strand facing the sea 22 metres NE of the end of Porlock Weir quay, the concrete pillbox is a slightly irregular hexagon about 6 metres at its widest point, with one wall longer than the other five. The structure's function was disguised in 1941 with the addition of a false conical pitched roof which was still extant in 1960, but which was no longer visible in 1972. The attachment of this false roof to the pillbox's flat roof is likely to explain the features on the top of the pillbox previously described: it not being for antennas etc and therefore it is probably not a command post either. The pillbox's exterior faces were also covered in beach pebbles, giving it a more rounded appearance. The pillbox was still extant in 2005, although slumped forward on the seaward (north facing) side due to the shingle strand being eroded. (3-7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Sainsbury I S, 22-NOV-94, RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 1a
Source : Pillboxes: a study of UK defences 1940
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Page(s) : 15
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Source Number : 1b
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1973 1:2500 Sheet SS 8648
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Source Number : 2
Source : Migrated Defence of Britain Project database record originally compiled from various sources
Source details : The two databases developed by the Project can be searched on-line through the Archaeology Data Service at http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/specColl/dob/index.cfm
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Source Number : 3
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8647/9 (MSO31206/018) 27-JUN-1941
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 4021 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 541/544 3018 01-JUN-1960
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Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/72065 099 15-APR-1972
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Source Number : 7
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8647/25 (24028/01) 09-AUG-2005
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Constructed 1940-41
Monument End Date : 1941
Monument Start Date : 1940
Monument Type : Pillbox (Type FW3/24)
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0006558
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 35353
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 NE 49
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 84 NE 49
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1994-11-24
End Date : 1994-11-24
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, GLOUCESTERSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL: SEVERN ESTUARY NMP, RAPID COASTAL ZONE ASSESSMENT SURVEY
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2006-04-10
End Date : 2008-11-01