No 8 Group Coventry

   by Jon Layne Ashbourne Section CROCA


Original article 12th May04 | Update May 2009 | Success 19th October 2010 |

Overlooking the underground ROC Post at Longcliffe near Brassington is the brick WW2 Post which was one of the “Granite” chain. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only survivor of its type in the former 8 Group Coventry territory, the other example at Farnsfield near Mansfield having been demolished soon after stand-down.

I approached Derbyshire County Council some time ago to try to get some recognition for the Post but received no reply. Fortunately, a former College colleague, Angus Watson, who is a local historian was able to put me into contact with the appropriate person at the County HQ. Following a telephone call to Dr David Barratt, the County Archeologist, I sent him written details of the importance of the Post, together with an edited copy of an article which I had written some years ago about the ROC in Derbyshire. These he forwarded to Ms Caroline Skinner, the Regional Representative for English Heritage.

Following a call from her, I was able to arrange a meeting with her and with Frank Johnson, the last Head Observer at Brassington, at the post site in March 2004. The tower is still in a reasonable condition although some stabilization of bits of the brickwork is needed and we were able to go to the top of it without too much of a problem. We were fortunate that the visibility was superb and the surroundings, with a powdering of snow, very picturesque !

The outcome is that she is recommending that both posts be subject to scheduling as “ancient monuments of historical interest” although it will be some months before we know whether this has been approved by the Secretary of State.

Jon Layne
Secretary Ashbourne Section CROCA

Photos: three taken during the site visit plus two taken after WW2 during aircraft reporting days


Scheduling Attempt for Brassington ROC Posts, Derbyshire.

If users of this website go back in the archives to 2004 (shown above), you’ll find an article with photos about a visit to the site of Brassington Post with a Regional Officer of English Heritage. The outcome was that she was going to recommend the scheduling not only of the WW2 structure but also of the adjacent underground post.

Following that visit, I have tried to obtain an update on progress – unfortunately without success. However, at the end of March I attended a lecture at the University of Derby given by the English Heritage Director, Dr Simon Thurley. One of his conclusions was that progress on conservation etc depended not only on Government funding but also on the efforts of groups (large and small) and of individuals.

This gave me the opportunity at question time to raise the matter of Brassington Post. He explained that the problem had been that all scheduling had been on hold for a long time. This was to allow English Heritage to concentrate on the latest Government directives and initiatives, However, a start was to be made in the near future to examine the list of proposed sites,

I was also able to have an informal chat to him after the lecture and ensured that he went away with a written copy of the details (in the best Blue Peter tradition, here’s one that I prepared earlier !)

So, don’t hold your breath but it could be that the proposal is still alive and kicking.

Jon Layne
Secretary Ashbourne Section CROCA
May 2009


ROC Posts at Brassington, Derbyshire

The underground post (8/32) at Brassington is within sight of the WW2 above ground structure which is one of the few brick built ones still in existence. It must be seen by the many walkers on the High Peak Trail but who are unaware of its historical importance.

In 2004, as a result of discussions with the members of Ashover CROCA Section, we decided to try to get it recognised. A former Colleague put me in touch with the Derbyshire County Archaeologist who advised me to contact English Heritage. As a result of that, Frank Johnson (last Head Observer of 8/32) and I met up with Caroline Skinner, the Regional Co-ordinator for English Heritage. We had initially only talked about the WW2 structure but, when Caroline saw the proximity of the posts, she felt that both structures should be protected and recommended accordingly.

Then all went quiet and information was very sparse but in 2009, at an event at the University of Derby, I managed to have an informal chat with Dr Simon Thurley, Director of English Heritage. He explained that the hold up had been caused by a change in the Government’s priorities but that action was likely in the near future.

I am pleased to report that today (19 October 2010) both posts have been placed on the official list “PLANNING (LISTED BUILDINGS AND CONSERVATION AREAS) 1990 BUILDINGS OF SPECIAL ARCHITECTURAL OR HISTORICAL INTEREST”. English Heritage will also inform the local authority of Derbyshire Dales. It is interesting that an important point in favour of listing was the existence of the two sites, spanning two “historical periods”

More details of the sites and photographs will be found on the ROCA website in “Issues” 2004 and 2009.

Jon Layne
(last Group Officer at Brassington)

[12may04 00:50]  [updated 05may09] [success 25oct10]