On my way home from an overnight explore down south, it seemed a shame to waste the beautiful summer-like days we were having in mid-February, so I decided to stop off at RAF Coningsby's old weapons storage facility. It's not all that far from where I live, and I'd been meaning to take a look whenever I had a chance, so this seemed like the ideal opportunity.
RAF Coningsby Remote Weapons Store, as the name suggests, is a facility built for the purpose of storing and preparing weapons including missiles and bombs, situated in a separate compound close to the outer edge of the main airbase.
The facility was built in order to reduce the quantity of explosives stored within the base, therefore reducing the number of personnel and aircraft exposed to risk. An incident occurred in 1971 when an electrostatic discharge caused a SNEB rocket that was being prepared to initiate its rocket motor. Two armourers were killed, and this could be one of the reasons for deciding to build the store further away.
RAF Coningsby itself is operational as Quick Reaction Alert station, and is home to Eurofighter Typhoons from No. 3 Squadron, No. XI Squadron and No. 29 Squadron.
Little information is available about the history of the bomb store, but this is no surprise owing to the fact it belongs to an active RAF base. The facility has separate storage and preparation facilities and does not appear on historic maps dated 1977 or earlier. Hardened Aircraft Shelters were constructed within the airbase from 1981-1987 to accommodate Tornado Jets. The Tornados were capable of carrying a range of missiles and weaponry, so it is likely the weapons storage facility was built around the same time as the hangars to service the weaponry for those aircraft. The facility appears to have been out of use for a good number of years.
Aerial view of the weapons store as seen on Google Maps
This hand-drawn plan was found within the site
View down the road of section 1
Storage areas in section 4
The entrance to storage area 14C
Building 21F entrance
Building 12 contained this mobile communications unit
Inside the mobile comms unit
There were also some opened crates of naval gun mounts
Missile Servicing Bay and an ivy-clad building
Inside the ivy building
Missile Servicing Bay
A few of the other buildings scattered around the site...
Looking over to the command centre
Inside the command centre
I'm not sure what this does, but it looked pretty cool
Huge diesel generator
Sentry post at the east gate
So last year when I went to Coltishall the tower was locked, so a quick message from pretty vacant who was visiting it later said it was wide open. So I decided to nip down and see it for myself. Its fairly stripped off its features, but it does have some nice colours and its always nice to get in a tower. The ATC tower is a concrete one, and was built after the original one was bombed. It was extended during the cold war and contained offices, visual control room, a balloon room, airfield lighting controls and bedrooms for the meterological and control officer. Since the airfield closed in 2006 the tower has laid empty since.
Quite away around the perimeter track is this tiny little building I found. its known a the B centre and worked in coordination with the A station, which would be controlled by the console in local control. the switched commands would would be sent from the console and converted to codes by the relay rack. These would then be sent by six pairs of telephone cables to the B centre. This would then allow the codes to be read and select the correct lights to be put on.
Day two of @Mookster and my first Northern Explore of the year; and in true Mookster style; we get up from our cosy beds and leave the sleepy world of The Premier Inn before breakfast is even a thing in these hotels; a point that hurts me to the core as the Designated Driver, but clearly pays off once the wall of fatigue is overcome.
We leave the hotel and take a drive to Bee Hive; this weekend has been a little hit and miss so far; so we have high hopes of this as it had been the Tour Bus stop off of the month; and after parking up and spending much time trying to get inside having been spotted by the sleepy street waking up numerous times; we set about a great explore.
This site is very stripped out inside; but the lighting is just divine; the paintwork, features and the things that are left behind are just lovely.
We both REALLY enjoyed this one; despite the bareness, it had a really nice feeling about it.
The first of the two mills on this site, was built in 1895, with the second larger mill following soon after, in 1902.
The complex was constructed in a rather lovely Italianate style, with staircases disguised as campaniles along with terraced roofing and balustrades and including a very picturesque lodge/office building at the front gate.
The mill span cotton up until 1967 when that venture closed. Ever since then; Bee Hive has had various other industrial uses, seemingly most recently it was occupied by a bed/furniture warehouse until they vacated some time ago.
The place eventually closed down entirely in 2016 and plans to demolish this beautiful building, despite its protected status have been heavily criticized by the locals; and rightly so. Would be a tragedy.
As always Guys, thank you for taking the time to look, More At: