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HER Number:MDV72105
Name:Hope Cove, GCI Rotor Station


Location of Technical site for GCI (B) Cold War Rotor Station at RAF Hope Cove.


Grid Reference:SX 717 376
Map Sheet:SX73NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishMalborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishMALBOROUGH

Protected Status

  • Listed Building (II) 1427493: Hope Cove Radar Station
  • SHINE: Earthworks, structures, cropmarks and artefact scatters of prehistoric field system, prehistoric barrow, hilltop enclosure, medieval farmsteads and rabbit warren, 18th-19th century watch towers and World War Two RAF Bolt Head Airfield, at East Soar

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RADAR STATION (XX - 1901 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Dobinson, C. S., 2000, Twentieth Century Fortifications in England Vol. XI.1 & XI.2: The Cold War, 159 (Report - non-specific). SDV324255.

Location of Technical Site for Ground Controlled Interception (GCI) (B) giving full control capability and additional Centimetric early warning (CEW) and Chain Home Extra Low (CHEL) reporting facilities. The radar station was refurbished during the 1950's and new, more sophisticated, equipment was installed. Hope Cove was equipped with 11 radar heads of various types, reference 23 Dec 1953.

Passmore, A. + Passmore, M., 2010, Cold War Operations Block, RAF Hope Cove (Leaflet). SDV345243.

Passmore, M. + Passmore, A., 2011, Royal Air Force Air-Defence Radar Station and Home Office Establishment Hope Cove, 2-3 (Leaflet). SDV347317.

RAF Hope Cove was established as a ground control interception station during the Second World War, opening in 1941 when mobile equipment came into operation. By 1942 it was an intermediate station and in the following year a purpose-built brick and concrete reporting hall/operations block was set up, and other permanent structures built. Very little remains of the wartime station, which was disbanded in 1946, but in the 1950s a semi-submerged ground control interception operations block, known as an R6, was constructed. A modulator building for more powerfull equipment was also built, but this was never installed, and between 1957-8 the station became the RAF's School of Fighter Control. When the Fighter Schoo re-located the Home Office occupied the R6 structure and the site took on a civil defence role. During this period changes were made to the operations block and some of the early structures on the site were eventually demolished. The site is now privately owned. Other details: Photographs.

Ordnance Survey, 2015, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV357601.

Historic England, 2015, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV358087.

Radar Station (Rotor) of 1952-4, later converted to a Regional Seat of Government (RSG). Designed by the Ministry of Works.
MATERIALS: it is built of reinforced concrete with 900mm thick walls. The interior floors are of teak.
PLAN: the principal semi-sunken structure is an R6 type. It is rectangular on plan with stairs at each end. Rooms are arranged at either side of a central corridor to each floor. The floors are subdivided into 28 rooms on each floor. The main two-storey operations room has an inserted mezzanine floor.
EXTERIOR: as it was designed to resist the effects of a 5 kiloton nuclear explosion there are no windows and the only openings in the structure are at each end of the ground floor with blast doors and lobbies. The roof is a flat concrete slab with a concrete parapet.
INTERIOR: a utilitarian interior lacking in decorative features but retaining fittings and fixtures from the Rotor (1950s) and RSG (1960s) phases, including a kitchen with serving hatches to segregated dining areas. The teak flooring is original to the first, Rotor phase, along with the air conditioning plant and cork-lined internal partition walls. There is also some signage from the Rotor phase. The stairs have metal balustrades with timber handrails.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the square building to the south of the R6 operations block is the 1960s generator block and fuel tanks. The two generators are a 375kva Meadows unit (1950s) and 375kva Cummins (1990s). 200 metres to the north-west is the Type 80 ('Green Garlic') radar modulator building. It is single storey and comprises a square modulator room connected to a rectangular generator room via a covered corridor. An induction regular room and a store are attached to the modular room. It is constructed of concrete and is a contemporary Rotor structure, and a rare survival.
EXTENT OF DESIGNATION: special interest lies in the fabric of 1950s and 1960s date. All later fabric is not of special interest.
See website for full details.

Historic England, 22/05/2015, Hope Cove Radar Station, Former RAF Hope Cove radar station, near Salcombe, Devon (Correspondence). SDV358389.

The former radar site at RAF Hope Cove, Devon is recommended for listing at Grade II.

Hope Cove Radar Station, constructed in 1952-4 and converted to a Regional Seat of Government (RSG) in the late 1950s, near Salcombe, Devon is recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: a rare survival of a Rotor R6 operations block - only 5 were built to this two-storey semi-sunken design. The associated Type 80 radar building is also rare, as are intact Regional Seats of Government;
* Intactness: the structure is largely intact and its alterations mainly relate to its conversion to later government uses; however, these alterations are also of significance;
* Historic interest (Rotor): the ambitious scheme to modernise the United Kingdom’s radar defences, known as Rotor, is an important chapter in the story of our national defence and marked a major manufacturing effort to produce the necessary technological equipment;
* Historic Interest (Cold War): it marks the strategic transition in the post-war British Government’s appreciation of the effects of nuclear warfare, through the establishment of the Regional Seat of Government plan, and later schemes by the Home Office.
See advice report for full details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV324255Report - non-specific: Dobinson, C. S.. 2000. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England Vol. XI.1 & XI.2: The Cold War. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. XI.1 & XI.2. A4 Bound + Digital. 159.
SDV345243Leaflet: Passmore, A. + Passmore, M.. 2010. Cold War Operations Block, RAF Hope Cove. A Brief Introduction to Twentieth Century Military and Civil Defence Archae. 18. A4 Folded + digital.
SDV347317Leaflet: Passmore, M. + Passmore, A.. 2011. Royal Air Force Air-Defence Radar Station and Home Office Establishment Hope Cove. A Brief Introduction to Twentieth Century Military and Civil Defence Archae. 38. A4 Folded + digital. 2-3.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #99792 ]
SDV358087National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2015. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV358389Correspondence: Historic England. 22/05/2015. Hope Cove Radar Station, Former RAF Hope Cove radar station, near Salcombe, Devon. Notification of Designation Decision. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV112309Parent of: Generator Block, Hope Cove GCI Rotor Station (Building)
MDV78428Parent of: Operations Block at RAF Hope Cove (Monument)
MDV78429Parent of: Rotor Modulator Building at RAF Hope Cove GCI Station. (Monument)
MDV54165Part of: Hope Cove, Radar Station (Monument)
MDV72108Related to: Domestic site for Hope Cove Rotor CGI Station, south-east of Malborough (Monument)
MDV72109Related to: Hope Cove, Rotor Domestic Site (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4903 - Site Visit to RAF Hope Cove GCI Station

Date Last Edited:May 26 2015 10:36AM