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Saturday, 6 August 2011
NOTES and QUERIES: THE R.O.C. POST IN HOLMES CHAPEL ROAD
Photo: James Towill/Geograph (Creative Commons)
(Sanquhar, Scotland ROC post)
Colin Derek Appleton writes:
Hi Dave. I wonder if you can help me out on this? I'm doing a bit of research on the Royal Observer Post that used to be situated on the old playing fields off Holmes Chapel Road. I know that it was demolished when they built the industrial units but do you know of anyone who worked in it before it closed in 1991? Or anyone who went down inside and maybe has photos? I've hit a bit of a blank with this one Cheers, Col.
Hi Colin. That's a tricky one. I remember looking at the place many years ago. It was right in the corner of Station Field, next to the railway line. If I remember rightly there was a big metal hatch, rather like one on a submarine by which you gained access, but it was always securely locked. I take it you've looked at Subterranea Brittanica, the usual source on these matters? There's an entry, but not much info and no photos.
Colin Derek Appleton: I've been on Subterranea Brittanica and, as you said, there's nothing more than a grid ref. I do know that it was built mid 60's to a standard plan that most, if not all, ROC posts were built to and it was decomissioned in 1991 at the end of the cold war.
It was manned by unpaid volunteers from the ROC so my thinking is these may have been local people ?
It would be a shame if another piece of Middlewich history vanished without trace ?
It would. So how about it? Were you a member of the Royal Observer Corps? Did you spend time in this 'secret bunker' on the edge of Station Field?
Or do you know someone who did?
Any information would be much appreciated.
Obviously Colin's first thought, like mine, was to visit the 'Subterranea Britannica' website, which is the number one source for information on this kind of thing. The obvious problem, of course, being that these places were 'secret' and no one talked about them. That's why photographs are always going to be scarce. Photography would be strictly forbidden while the post was operational and most likely no one would have thought of taking pictures when it was decommissioned. However, you never know, someone might have thought it worth taking a few snaps for posterity. Here, for what it's worth, is a link to SB's entry on the post:
Here's a thought - if we can't turn up any photos of this ROC post, perhaps we could do what we did with Niddrie's old school bus and find a picture of one that looked like it? After all, if they were all built to the same design...