Bawdsey: Radar project receives £80,000 boost from Heritage Lottery Fund

Staff at RAF Bawdsey working at the station in 1966. In 1935 Bawdsey Manor was selected as the site

Staff at RAF Bawdsey working at the station in 1966. In 1935 Bawdsey Manor was selected as the site for the development of radio direction finding, which became known as Radar. Bloodhound surface to air guided weapons became a familiar site at the base for many years. On 31st May 1990 the Bloodhound force ceased operations and in June all the missiles were withdrawn to RAF West Raynham. The RAF Ensign was lowered for the last time on the 25th March 1991 and the station closed on the 31st March. - Credit: Archant

Bawdsey Radar Trust has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, paving the way for a future application for a full grant for its £1million Transmitter Block project.

Development funding of £79,400 has been awarded to help progress the plans to apply for the full grant from the HLF within two years.

The project aims to conserve the Transmitter Block building on Bawdsey Manor Estate in Suffolk and increase opportunities for people to learn about this pioneering radar site.

Work on the application for the delivery grant should be completed by the autumn of 2014 and the aim is that the project will start in 2015 and be complete within two years.

The building has become a focal point for the local community and Martin Grimwood, Bawdsey Radar trustee and a member of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this funding. “The Transmitter Block has been enthusiastically supported by the local community and has over the last few years been the source of exciting activities involving a wide variety of people.”

Robyn Llewelyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund in the East of England, said: “This is a truly unique historic building; hidden away for many years, the block is home to many stories of local wartime endeavour and national secrets.

“With Lottery players’ money, the trust will be able to develop their plans further and move closer to full restoration of this iconic site.”

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The Transmitter Block was built in 1938 and was a key building at RAF Bawdsey, the world’s first operational radar station.

As well as developing plans for conserving the fabric of this building, which will need funds in the order of £1million, Bawdsey Radar Trust will be working to develop ways in which more people can visit the site and understand the importance of the radar heritage that the Transmitter Block represents.

New displays within the Transmitter Block and at other locations within east Suffolk will tell the story of radar and its significance in the Second World War.