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Historic England Research Records

HMP Northeye

Hob Uid: 1142754
Location :
East Sussex
Rother
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ6965908104
Summary : The site of a former Royal Air Force Mobile Radio Unit, later a radar station domestic site that became HMP Northeye in 1969. A Mobile Radio Unit was established at the site by September 1940. This was reserve equipment for the Chain Home radar station at Pevensey (CH07) in event of it being damaged by enemy action. It comprised an aerial mounted in a trailer and other receiver and transmission equipment stored in vehicles, ready to be assembled on site. In the early 1950s a domestic site was built for RAF Wartling radar station (see HOB UID 1414403) as part of the Rotor station to modernise the United Kingdom's radar defences. This comprised hutted accommodation and a Married Quarters brick-built estate. Following the closure of the radar station in 1964 the site became HMP Northeye. HMP Northeye opened as a Category C training prison in January 1969. Most of the prison buildings being the original RAF single-storey huts. Some additional buildings were erected in the 1970s to accommodate more inmates. Serious disturbances in 1986 resulted in the destruction of 40% of the buildings. Re-opened for a small number of inmates after the riots. Then it was closed in 1992. The camp has since been refurbished and is currently used as a training campus. The only original building surviving from the Rotor period is the combined stand-by set house and boiler house. Outside the prison perimeter the Married Quarters estate still survives as private houses.
More information : A Mobile Radio Unit at Barnhorne (TQ 692 077) established by 02-SEP-1940. This was reserve equipment for the Chain Home radar station at Pevensey (CH07) in event of it being damaged by enemy action. It comprised an aerial mounted in a trailer and other receiver and transmission equipment stored in vehicles. (1)

The Rotor programme was developed to upgrade the wartime radar technology to detect and locate fast-flying jets. It was approved by the Air Council in June 1950. There were three main components to the Rotor stations: the technical site, including the radars, operation blocks and other installations; the domestic site, where personnel were accommodated; and the stand-by set house, a reserve power supply. The domestic site of Wartling Rotor station was located at TQ 697 080. The technical site was situated at TQ 662 088 and the stand-by set house was co-located at the domestic site.

The rural location of many radar stations meant accommodation had to be constructed to house members of staff. A typical GCI station could have up to 400 personnel, including officers, non-commissioned officers, corporals and aircraftsmen/women. Often new housing estates were built and accommodation could vary from temporary huts to permanent brick-built buildings. (2-4)

Aerial photography from 1979 shows some buildings remaining. However, a large portion of the site was damaged by rioting in 1986. (5)

The domestic site for RAF Wartling was built at Barnhorne, close to the A259 Bexhill Road. Following the closure of the radar station in 1964 the site became HMP Northeye. The prison was damaged by fire in 1986 and remained empty until 1992. The camp has now been refurbished and functions as the United Arab Emirates Training Project Campus. The only original building surviving from the Rotor programme is the combined stand-by set house and boiler house. Outside the prison perimeter the Married Quarters estate still survives as private houses. (6)

Northeye re-opened for a small number of inmates after the riots in 1986 (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 7. Acoustics and radar: England's early warning systems 1915-1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 99,160
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Source Number : 2
Source : Cold War: Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989
Source details :
Page(s) : 86-110
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Source Number : 3
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume XI.1. The Cold War (text)
Source details :
Page(s) : 36-72
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Source Number : 4
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume XI.2. The Cold War (Appendices)
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Source Number : 5
Source : Twentieth Century Military Recording Project: Cold War Rotor Stations
Source details :
Page(s) : 56
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Source Number : 6
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Subterranea Britannica, 2003. RAF Wartling <> Updated on 09-OCT-2003 [Accessed on 19-JAN-2009]
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Source Number : 7
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Email correspondence 04-JUN-2015 Mr P Hubbard and Mr P Lovegrove 28-JUN-2015
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : Early 1950s to 1964
Monument End Date : 1964
Monument Start Date : 1950
Monument Type : Domestic Site, Military Camp
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Established by 1940
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Radar Station, Military Base, Hut, Chain Home Station
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Closed 1992
Monument End Date : 1992
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Closed Training Prison
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Opened in 1969
Monument End Date : 1969
Monument Start Date : 1969
Monument Type : Closed Training Prison
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Erected in 1970s
Monument End Date : 1979
Monument Start Date : 1970
Monument Type : Closed Training Prison, Cell Block
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Damaged by riots in 1986
Monument End Date : 1986
Monument Start Date : 1986
Monument Type : Closed Training Prison
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : After 1993
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1993
Monument Type : Training Centre
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 93982
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 60 NE 31
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1142754
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1142754
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1476551
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: PRISONS PROJECT
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-01
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31