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HER Number:MDV78428
Name:Operations Block at RAF Hope Cove


Semi-submerged operations block, one of two structures still remaining from the Cold War era at RAF Hope Cove ground control interception station.


Grid Reference:SX 718 376
Map Sheet:SX73NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishMalborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishMALBOROUGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • OPERATIONS BLOCK (XX - 1950 AD to 1954 AD (Between))

Full description

Passmore, A. + Passmore, M., 2010, Cold War Operations Block, RAF Hope Cove, 3 (Leaflet). SDV345243.

The operations block for the Cold War ground control interception station at Hope Cove was housed in a new, semi-submerged R6 building. Sometimes referred to as a bunker, the building was occupied in 1954 and became fully operational in January 1955. The station's life was short, and after it was closed in 1958 the R6 structure was occupied by the Home Office. Other details: Photographs.

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

Passmore, M. + Passmore, A., 2011, Royal Air Force Air-Defence Radar Station and Home Office Establishment Hope Cove, 3-4 (Leaflet). SDV347317.

Other details: Photographs.

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.
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 therefore 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

SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #105305 ]
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. 3.
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. 3-4.
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

MDV72105Part of: Hope Cove, GCI Rotor Station (Monument)
MDV54165Part of: Hope Cove, Radar Station (Monument)
MDV112309Related to: Generator Block, Hope Cove GCI Rotor Station (Building)
MDV78429Related to: Rotor Modulator Building at RAF Hope Cove GCI Station. (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4903 - Site Visit to RAF Hope Cove GCI Station

Date Last Edited:May 26 2015 10:36AM