Godalming Fire Watchers Post

Blackburn Works, Cattershall Lane, Godalming, Surrey

Ngr SU982444
Blackburn Works Firewatchers Post

Blackburn Works Firewatchers Post

Until 2005 an unusual and rare find could be seen on top of an old  Victorian looking works which belonging to the J L Blackburn engineering company close to the River Wey at Godalming.

Godalming Fire Watchers Post

Godalming Fire Watchers Post

I happened to notice which at first appeared to look like a pillbox offset at the  top of the building partially hidden by shrub growth. The then unused works was undergoing preservation and some demolition of surrounding attached buildings was being carried out.

Closer inspection showed that the the box appeared to have two slotted openings (similar to loopholes), one in each visible side, and a rear opening rusting steel door, the roof appeared to be made of a concrete slab construction and a small metal chimney  was also visible on one side.

Using the details listed below it was identified by Austin Ruddy as an ARP or firewatchers post.

The general construction being like the standard civilian ARP building, with cheaper bricks and the overhanging concrete roof.
The rear opening steel door which was a feature of ARP type buildings, which would have also given some protection from shrapnel and exploding incendiary devices.
And the small chimney was most probably for a small stove to give some form of comfort for fire watchers on cold nights!

The works may have been used in the war effort and so a possible enemy target ( i was informed by a local that parts of the R101 airship had been made there).

Blackburn Works

Blackburn Works

Because of its location on top of a very tall and strong building the post would given a clear view over the surrounding Godalming area.

Since 2005 the building has been converted into apartments and the roof top structure was removed.

Godalming Fire Watchers Post

Interesting comparrison taken in 2010 showing a conservatory where the Fire watchers post once was. Picture by John Dean PSG forum 9/10

Tim Denton 2004


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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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