Fresh hope for historic radar site
By Danielle NuttallCAMPAIGNERS hoping to restore the famous Bawdsey Transmitter Block said they are confident the project will be accomplished – despite missing out on a £3million lifeline.
By Danielle Nuttall
CAMPAIGNERS hoping to restore the famous Bawdsey Transmitter Block said they are confident the project will be accomplished - despite missing out on a £3million lifeline.
The building, which played a vital role in the production of radar and the Second World War, was one of eight finalists in the BBC's Restoration series, but failed to win the £3m jackpot.
The BBC Two programme allowed viewers to vote for the heritage project they would most like saved, but Bawdsey lost out in Sunday's final to the Old Grammar School in Birmingham.
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However, Mary Wain, chairman of the Bawdsey Radar Group, revealed it would now be launching its own fundraising project that would help return the building to its former glory.
"The interest is at such a level we feel confident now we will get the money we need," she said.
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"I have just had a meeting with the secretary and what we will be doing now is looking seriously into fundraising. That's where we are going to begin."
She added: "Almost immediately we hope to try to do a history project because we have had so many people contact us who were at Bawdsey pre-war time.
"We feel their stories should be recorded and collected now before it's too late. That's something we will be concentrating on.
"It's really driving us. I think we feel much, much more confident then we did four or five months ago before we got involved in Restoration."
More than 750,000 votes were cast in the final of Restoration, which was hosted by Suffolk resident Griff Rhys Jones.
The East Anglian Daily Times joined forces with BBC Radio Suffolk to back the Bawdsey Transmitter Block bid.
The grade II* listed structure, based in the grounds of Bawdsey Manor, was the site of pioneering research on radar by a group of scientists, including the physicist Professor Robert Watson-Watt.
Bawdsey radar station became operational in 1936 and was the first in a chain of radar bases that surrounded the east of England, which were invaluable during the Battle of Britain.
It was used as a RAF base through the Cold War until the 1990s, but operations were eventually ceased and the station was closed, with the last transmitter mast being dismantled in 2000.
The concrete is now crumbling and it is in desperate need of restoration. Only about £250,000 is needed to get the building into a fit state, although more funding would be needed for a planned visitors' centre.