MHG25866 - Control Tower, Royal Naval Air Station, Fearn Airfield

Summary

The listed control tower of the former Royal Naval Air Station at Fearn.

Type and Period (1)

  • ROYAL NAVAL AIR STATION CONTROL TOWER (Built, Second World War - 1940 AD to 1941 AD (between))

Protected Status

Full Description

Fearn Airfield control tower is situated in a cultivated field within the perimeter track on the NE segment of the airfield. The four storey tower has been deliberately damaged internally, with holes punched in partition walls to discourage its use as living space. The top storey is inaccessible due to the removal of the ladder or stairs. Little survives internally apart from some benches and the remains of the room partitions. The stumps of the balcony rail are still in place and on the roof, the remains of a wind sock is still in situ, though whether this is an original is not known. Immediately to the rear are the remains of a nissen hut and small generator house along with the foundations of one or two other brick built buildings, one of which may be the ablutions block. The tower is a four storey naval type, others being known to survive in Shropshire and Hampshire. The construction of the tower must have occurred sometime in 1942 when control of the airfield was transferred from the RAF to the Royal Navy. The majority of this type of control tower were built by the Royal Marine Engineers to standard designs and the construction of the walls was in a mixture of solid brick, and reinforced concrete, with air watch office being built of reinforced concrete or wood (Francis 1996 <1>)
Visited by RCAHMS (DE) January and May 1997

The building was visited in 1999 as part of an in-depth study of the whole airfield by ASH Consulting (with some areas of work sub-contracted to Alan Cruden Associates, Wordsworth Archaeological Services and Dalcairn Consultants). <2>

The building was listed by Historic Scotland on 24/08/2000.

This site is the subject of an oblique aerial photograph by Jim Bone. <3>

Photographs were contributed by Martin Briscoe via the Highland HER Flickr group.<4>

The building was visited and recorded during a desk-based assessement and building recording exercise by Highland Archaeology Services in 2012 as a condition attached to a planning application for restoration and conversion. Notes were made of construction methods and materials, current condition and features of interest. More difficult to analyse was the use to which each room in the building was put. The observation galleries on levels 1 and 2, and the air watch office on level 3 were all obvious, but many others gave no clue to their purpose or use, which may only be established by reference to the Fleet Air Arm archives and other sources outwith the scope of this study. Functions which would have been incorporated in the tower included an air traffic control office, probably a reception area, boiler room, duty office and switchgear room, among others. Telephones, radio and other signalling equipment would all be used in the tower, but in which areas was not determined. It is likely that reference to records of similar towers could throw some light on room allocation. There were also some puzzling absences, for example of obvious mountings or fixings for signalling equipment or anti-aircraft ordnance on the roofs. It was recommended that no further recording was required on the known structures, but a watching brief carried out on any groundworks in the vicinity might reveal further evidence. <5>

Sources/Archives (5)

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred NH 8479 7615 (14m by 16m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NH87NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish FEARN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (2)

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