Isles of Scilly Defences

All structures are generally in good order.

Control Pillbox. NGR: 896104: Steval

Not totally sure of its function, but guess it to be a control/command centre. Located on above a gun emplacement. It is hard to get a decent overall picture of the structure because of the vegetation around the structure and its location perched on a small cliff. I tried photographing it from a boat coming back from a trip to one of the other islands, but the conditions were not very good and did not get a clear shot.

Picture 1 and 2 show the steps leading into the building.


Picture 3 shows the front of the structure and picture 4 shows an embrasure on the right hand side.



Picture 5 is from the roof looking out to sea. Below and in front can be seen the Searchlight building.

Defences Between Sally Port & Upper Broom NGR:901105

These photos show a pillbox built into the original fort defences and covering Porth Cressa Bay.

 Woolpack NGR:898099

These show a gun emplacement with a pillbox built into the original battery wall. The latter could perform the same function as the control pillbox, as the set up is similar.

At a B&B I stayed at for a few days during my last visit to the Isles I noticed a picture on the wall of the sitting room. It shows a blast wall at the entrance of the pillbox pictured above. This feature is no longer there.


Searchlight House, Tolman Point NGR: 916100

General views of a Type 24 pillbox

This Pillbox, although located on a spit, faces inland and has its entrance/rear facing out to sea. It is located to cover a beach. The embrasures have for the most part been blocked up. There is no sign of the shelves located inside under the embrasures and there is some rubble on the floor too.

 Old Town Bay NGR: 913103

Despite having visited the Isles on my holidays for some 7 years, I only noticed this structure this year! The rear of the pillbox is in someone’s garden now so I was unable to gain access to it. One thing I did notice, is that embrasure is located very low down and anyone inside would not have been able to fire on the beach, unless that is the concrete wall across the road was not there when the pillbox was built. About 150 metres to the west of this there is a Type 24 Pillbox (912103), which I did not photograph, as it is mostly hidden behind vegetation at the front. And the rear being in someone’s garden too.

Morning Point

Pillbox defending the entrance to Porth Cressa Bay.


 North Side Of St Mary’s Type 24

Damaged Type 24 pillbox on beach. I think it has come down from the cliff above. Probably due to erosion. Type 24b looks like an impact hole from a shell in one of the sides.

 Porthelick NGR:924105

Standard Type 24 located about 20 feet above the level of the beach.


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Defence Structures and sites of all types both above and below ground can be very dangerous. Serious injury or even death can arise from unauthorised entry into such sites and structures. Join a responsible club, group or society who can arrange official visits. The Pillbox Study Group accepts no responsibility for any damages or injuries caused by ignoring this advice. The PSG does not encourage members to undertake the ad hoc clearance of vegetation from pillboxes, as it can expose them to physical damage and inappropriate use, it may also contravene a variety of statutory regulations including, listed buildings and SSSI designations. Vegetation clearance should only ever be undertaken as part of a formal arrangement, having sought and obtained permission from the land owner and other necessary authorities. Damaging a listed or scheduled monument can be considered as a Heritage Crime.

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