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HER Number MWB21764
Record Type Monument
Name Greenham Common peace camp - Emerald Gate

Grid Reference SU 484 648
Map Sheet SU46SE
Parish Greenham, West Berkshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap


One of several peace camps created during opposition to Cruise missiles at airbase in 1980s

Monument Type(s):

  • PEACE CAMP (Late 20th century - Present - 1983 AD to 1991 AD?)

Full Description

A summary of the history of the Women's Library Greenham Common Collection <1> notes that, " In September 1981 a Welsh group of 36 individuals opposed to nuclear power, called Women for Life on Earth, walked 120 miles from their headquarters to raise awareness of this issue and to protest against NATO's decision to site cruise missiles at Greenham Common. On reaching their destination they chained themselves to the perimeter fence and subsequently established a 'peace camp' there which was to remain for another two decades. The 'camp' itself consisted of nine smaller camps: the first was Yellow Gate, established the month after Women for Peace on Earth reached the airbase; others established in 1983 were Green Gate, the nearest to the silos, and the only entirely exclusive women-only camp at all times, the others accepting male visitors during the day; Turquoise Gate; Blue Gate with its new age focus; Pedestrian Gate; Indigo Gate; Violet Gate identified as being religiously focussed; Red Gate known as the artists gate; and Orange Gate. A central core of women lived either full-time or for stretches of time at any one of the gate camps with others staying for various lengths of time" [http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/genesis/ Accessed 01/03/2011].

A further small camp was established very close to the runway and north side of the missile shelters; this was named Emerald Camp <2> and is shown in a plan along with the other eight colour-named camps. It appears from oral history sources that this camp was only every occupied by a few women for short periods of time with their possessions being hidden in bushes on departure <4>. An academic archaeological project in the early 21st century examined nearby Turquoise Camp <5>; although Emerald Camp was not surveyed a former occupant returned and found some possessions where she had left them <4>.

Sources and further reading

<01>Nelson, J. 1982-3. The Women's Library: Greenham Common Collection. [Unpublished document / SWB14643]
<02>Hamilakis, Y and Anagnostopoulos, A. 2009. Public Archaeology: Archaeological Ethnographies. pdf online. 10.1179/175355309X457240. p225-45 Situating the Greenham Archaeology: An Autoethnography of a Feminist Project, Marshall et al. [Article in serial / SWB148742]
http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/175355309X457240 (Accessed 10/09/2014)
<03>Hawkings, D. 2003. Greenham: a common inheritance. http://www.greenham-common.org.uk. Accessed 20/03/2008. Image of Sunrise at Emerald Gate. [Website / SWB13700]
http://www.greenham-common.org.uk (Accessed 11/01/2012)
<04>Harrison, R and Schofield, J. 2010. After Modernity - Archaeological Approaches to the Contemporary Past. p66. [Monograph / SWB149308]
<05>Council for British Archaeology. Jan/Feb 2009. British Archaeology 104. 104. p44-49 Peace Site - An Archaeology of Protest at Greenham Common Air Base by John Scofield. [Article in serial / SWB147736]

Related Monuments

MWB16204Greenham Common peace camp - Blue Gate (Monument)
MWB16200Greenham Common peace camp - Green Gate (Monument)
MWB16205Greenham Common peace camp - Indigo Gate (Monument)
MWB16202Greenham Common peace camp - Orange Gate (Monument)
MWB16207Greenham Common peace camp - Red Gate (Monument)
MWB16201Greenham Common peace camp - Turquoise Gate (Monument)
MWB16206Greenham Common peace camp - Violet Gate (Monument)
MWB16203Greenham Common peace camp - Yellow Gate and Peace Garden (Monument)

Associated Excavations and Fieldwork

  • None recorded