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HER Number:MDV78394
Name:Airmen's Institute, Exeter Airfield Dispersed Site 2


Surviving elements of World War II airmen's institute.


Grid Reference:SY 012 934
Map Sheet:SY09SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishClyst Honiton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCLYST HONITON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Military structures; earthworks and archaeological remains of World War II, RAF Exeter and post medieval catchmeadows and orchard banks on footprint of modern Exeter Airport and to the east

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • AIRMENS INSTITUTE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Map object based on this Source.

Francis, P., 1999, Exeter Airport. Historic Airport Survey for Devon County Council & East Devon District Council, 109 (Report - non-specific). SDV323390.

Institute and NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institue). This complex originally consisted of three 28 foot span temporary brick huts which were linked together to create a building with an "E" plan. In more recent times, a large section has been demolished, leaving a derelict fragment. Other details: Site 259; Map 11.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Map object based on this Source.

de Villiers, S., 2020, McBains Business Units, Exeter Airport, Clyst Honiton: Building Recording (Report - Survey). SDV363917.

An historic building record of a pair of mid 20th-century buildings at the Mcbains Business Units, Westcott Road, Clyst Honiton, Devon was prepared by AC archaeology in September 2020 prior to their demolition.

The surviving west range is a single-storeyed structure measuring 39m long by 9m wide, and constructed of brick finished externally with render. Internally the lower sections are also rendered (with a white paint finish) with the upper parts of the walls painted white. It has a gabled roof covered with corrugated asbestos sheets with an additional gable at the south east end facing east. The latter has been truncated, and would have continued over the demolished south range of the building. With the exception of a short length on the east side, where the building would have been abutted by the south range, the external walls, including at the corners, incorporate projecting piers.

The building is currently entered from the door at the north end of the west elevation. This opens into a small lobby that gives access to a small kitchen and a WC to the north; these two rooms have been subdivided from the larger lobby. A blockeddoorway in the south wall of the lobby formerly provided access into the central room. A door on the east side of the lobby leads into a north room in the northeast cornerof the building. A large opening, central to the building, provides unobstructed access into the central room. The east side of this opening is currently defined by part of an office, inserted into the northeast corner of the central room (Plate 6). The office has a wooden door with an upper glass panel and a window in its west wall. The partition between the central room and south room again incorporates a wide, tall unobstructed central opening. In the southeast corner of the south room is another inserted office divided by partitions of wood and glass (Plate 7), and which is entered via a pair of double wooden doors. The only other feature in the central room is a concrete slope down from the double doors in the east elevation. The roof covering throughout is supported on steel trusses constructed of pairs of ‘rafters’ with and three-part ‘tie beams’ supported with diagonal struts (Plates 7 and 8). These support a ceiling comprising (?asbestos) panels that obscure the structure above supporting the sheet finish. The feet of the trusses rest on internal brick piers which line up with the external piers.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV323390Report - non-specific: Francis, P.. 1999. Exeter Airport. Historic Airport Survey for Devon County Council & East Devon District Council. Airfield Research Publishing Report. Digital + A4. 109.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV363917Report - Survey: de Villiers, S.. 2020. McBains Business Units, Exeter Airport, Clyst Honiton: Building Recording. AC Archaeology. ACD2307/2/0. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV48846Part of: Exeter Airfield Dispersed Site 2 (Monument)
MDV48842Related to: Exeter Airfield (Military) (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4774 - Historic Airport Survey, Exeter Airport
  • EDV8668 - Building Recording: McBains Business Units, Exeter Airport, Clyst Honiton (Ref: ACD2307/2/0)

Date Last Edited:Jun 16 2021 1:35PM