View Full Version : ROC HQ no 1 Group Maidstone -Inside the bunker-Kent -Feb 2012

20-02-2012, 02:20 PM
Visited with wastelandwanderer on a special opening. 57 London Road (`Fairlawns') was requisitioned in 1939 as a new headquarters for No.1 Group, Royal Observer Corps - having previously been stationed in rooms above Maidstone Post Office. In use throughout WWII until stand down, by the 1950s Fairlawns was relegated to being a training centre for the group control at Beckenham (19 Group).
In 1961 a new semi-sunk control was built to the rear of the house, with administration located in the house. In 1976, Fairlawns was renamed Ashmore House in memory of the Corps' founder Major Ashmore. Enough water for 1 weeks use for 70 people, but 3 weeks worth of diesel.
On closure in 1992, Ashmore House and the Control Bunker behind were sold to a local firm of solicitors.
Used for file storage until recently, H&S regulations have forced the solicitors to abandon use of the bunker, I wont put too many external shots in as these have been covered by other posts
There is an official visit on 17th March 2012, led by a former HQ ROC member . Donations recieved on this day going to charity. PM me for details
Entrance Hall , Decontamination rooms on left behing green door, all the showers have been removed.
Looking back up the entrance stairs to lower levels.
Compressor plant room, the equipment looks like it was just abandoned yesterday.
Plot/observation room and upper galleries, the original fittings were sold the SOC kelvedon hatch
Sound insulated teleprinter room.
Air Intake Filter room.
Radio Room and room behind green door is faraday cage shielded
Looking down to the ops room
Dial in the compressor room
Not a LED in sight!
Standby Generator set room
Alternative exit
Alt exit Hadnt been opened in a long while judging by the number of resident spiders
Plant room for ejecting unwanted semi solid matter
The place is full of indicators

20-02-2012, 02:49 PM
Still in an excellent condition. Ripe for a makeover back to its former self, then open it up as a museum.

20-02-2012, 04:32 PM
Itd make a stunning museum. its in remarkable condition.

20-02-2012, 04:43 PM
very nice,we had one of them in norwich,but the owner demolished it 3yrs ago.
at the time no permission had been given to redevelop the site,to this day the site still sits empty.
such a shame,there was a local campaign to save it and turn it into a tourist attraction,but that ended when he bulldozed the site.

20-02-2012, 04:46 PM
great shots still in good condition too. no prizes for guessing what semi solid matter is?

20-02-2012, 05:41 PM
it is in reallllly good condition if i lived closer i would restore it myself although lot more money need on a group hq lol

great for getting in there mate

20-02-2012, 07:15 PM
A friend of mine is restoring one up in Scotland that is in far FAR worse condition than this, he is spending a small fortune.

To be fair he has got the place looking really well and has recently acquired all the fixtures and equipment to kit the whole place out again but he will have spent a fortune by the time its all finished and even then it won't be open full time as a museum as it would cost far too much to sort out all the H&S concerns.

Anyone that lives locally should SERIOUSLY consider joining the local ROCA and try to rent this place off the owners and tidy it up, all I can see that needs doing is a bit of paint here and there and a tidy up/removal of shelves and such. The blast doors just need scraping down and a new coat of paint, easy, would take a weekend with a small group of people to do.

If I lived locally I would be at their office tomorrow.

20-02-2012, 09:45 PM
That's a great report, looks to be in good condition in there, still some nice remaining artefacts.
Well done.

21-02-2012, 05:01 PM
As others have said looks in great condition this place, some stuff still left and im sure the rest of the gear could be sourced with some patience and time. Some paint here and there where needed and a bit of TLC it would look good as new!