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HER Number:MDV48735
Name:Searchlight Emplacement at Fort Bovisand, Wembury

Summary

One of group of four Second World War searchlight emplacements at Fort Bovisand built in 1942. The searchlights were removed in 1957. Visible on aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards as a flat roofed structure.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 488 506
Map Sheet:SX45SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWembury
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMSTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX45SE/18/5

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SEARCHLIGHT BATTERY (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

English Heritage, 10/02/2014, Staddon Heights DAS - Submarine Mine Observation Station and Searchlights, Wembury, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV356299.

The CASLs at Fort Bovisand survive as a clearly defined group, removed from the fort, and should be considered for designation on their own merits.

These examples survive well with their structures in tact and in some cases with doors in situ and internal fittings such as lighting, fuse boxes and cabling. The group all retain their roof vent for heat extraction.
Reasons for Designation:-
Historic interest: they have strong cultural and historical significance, within both a local and national
context, marking the improvement in search light technology during the Second World War to defend against enemy attack;
Rarity: it is uncommon for CASLs to survive well in such a grouping on the shoreline;
Intactness: despite some damage and decay to the fabric, and the removal of some doors and
fittings, the majority of the fabric remains intact and legible;
Group Value: the structures form an historic group with each other, Fort Bovisand and related
structures, and with the Staddon Heights military landscape as a whole.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2105, RAF/CPE/UK/2105 RP 3138-3139 28-MAY-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351151.

A flat roofed structure is visible.

Pye, A., 1992, Plymouth Fortress Survey (Report - non-specific). SDV167755.

Searchlight emplacement comprising rectangular, shuttered concrete structure with three light slits in the south-west wall. Has a three-sided profile. Access is from the west via a path along the foreshore behind an adjacent searchlight. Interior not accessible, contains a tank. Structure in good condition.

Pye, A. + Woodward, F., 1996, The Historic Defences of Plymouth, 213-4 (Monograph). SDV167752.

[One of] four searchlight emplacements situated at the high water mark, facing south. Three are cut into an early 19th century sea wall. The western two each have a pair of light slits in the front face, the eastern two have three. Access is from the rear through armoured doors. Each is of shuttered concrete and brick construction with a flat bitumen roof containing a central vent directly over the searchlight. The emplacements are complete. Three are used for storage or tanks, the fourth lies open and derelict. The searchlights were removed in 1957.

Historic England, 2014, NMR 29059, NMR 29059_026 13-JUN-2014 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363262.

The searchlight is visible as a flat roofed structure with three vertical openings on the south-west face.

Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2017, South Cornwall Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment, 1077 (Interpretation). SDV360825.

A small concrete-built searchlight emplacement associated with the Bovisand Submarine Mine Observation Station.

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Emplacement shown.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2019-2020, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP) (Interpretation). SDV362982.

The Second World War searchlight emplacement is visible on aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards as a flat roofed rectangular structure. It is approximately 6 by 4 metres in plan with three vertical lights and a convex curve in its south-west face.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV167752Monograph: Pye, A. + Woodward, F.. 1996. The Historic Defences of Plymouth. The Historic Defences of Plymouth. A4 Paperback. 213-4.
SDV167755Report - non-specific: Pye, A.. 1992. Plymouth Fortress Survey. A4 Unbound.
SDV351151Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2105. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/2105 RP 3138-3139 28-MAY-1947.
SDV356299List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 10/02/2014. Staddon Heights DAS - Submarine Mine Observation Station and Searchlights, Wembury, Devon. Amendment to List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Digital.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #93283 ]
SDV360825Interpretation: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2017. South Cornwall Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. RCZAS. Digital. 1077.
SDV362982Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2019-2020. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP). Historic England Research Report. Digital.
SDV363262Aerial Photograph: Historic England. 2014. NMR 29059. Historic England Aerial Photograph. Digital. NMR 29059_026 13-JUN-2014.

Associated Monuments

MDV39601Related to: Fort Bovisand coastal battery, Wembury (Monument)
MDV48736Related to: Searchlight Emplacement at Fort Bovisand, Wembury (Monument)
MDV48734Related to: Searchlight Emplacement at Fort Bovisand, Wembury (Monument)
MDV48733Related to: Searchlight Emplacement south of Fort Bovisand, Wembury (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4534 - Survey of Fort Bovisand
  • EDV8098 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey, Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (Ref: ACD2040)

Date Last Edited:Oct 21 2019 4:31PM