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.
Visited as the second site on mine and @Mooksters first Northern Road Trip of the year. We had failed several sites that day, and the day was coming to a rather murky and rainy end; but before we plumbed the hotel in for the night; we went to this short, sweet and rather destroyed church; the lone survivor of its time, sitting on its lonesome behind a Costa Coffee Drive Through and opposite a Travelodge Hotel.
As we did a quick shoot of the inside; we could hear afternoon shoppers stopping by for their takeout coffee and cake fix making their orders over the drive through intercom. We even enjoyed a couple of cold drinks inside the shop after we came out of the church right next door!
The building was put to tender in March 1869 with the stone-laying ceremony taking place on 21st July.
The church, provided 550 sittings at a cost of £4,167 and was built of stone from the local Crosland Hill quarries. Initially the Clerk of Works was Mr Jonathan Parsons;subsequently succeeded by Mr Phillips. Consecration took place on 10th August 1880.
The church was built by a local architect and protected by local laws from demolition and has remained empty since 2004