Saturday 6 August 2011


Photo: James Towill/Geograph (Creative Commons)
(Sanquhar, Scotland ROC post)
    • Colin Derek Appleton writes:

      Hi Dave. I wonder if you can help me out on this? I'm doing a bit of research on the Royal Observer Post that used to be situated on the old playing fields off Holmes Chapel Road.  I know that it was demolished when they built the industrial units but do you know of anyone who worked in it before it closed in 1991? Or anyone who went down inside and maybe has photos? I've hit a bit of a blank with this one  Cheers, Col.
    • Hi Colin. That's a tricky one. I remember looking at the place many years ago. It was right in the corner of Station Field, next to the railway line. If I remember rightly there was a big metal hatch, rather like one on a submarine by which you gained access, but it was always securely locked. I take it you've looked at Subterranea Brittanica, the usual source on these matters? There's an entry, but not much info and no photos. 
    • Colin Derek Appleton:
      I've been on Subterranea Brittanica and, as you said, there's nothing more than a grid ref. I do know that it was built mid 60's to a standard plan that most, if not all, ROC posts were built to and it was decomissioned in 1991 at the end of the cold war.
      It was manned by unpaid volunteers from the ROC so my thinking is these may have been local people ?
      It would be a shame if another piece of Middlewich history vanished without trace ?
  • Dave Roberts
    It would. So how about it? Were you a member of the Royal Observer Corps? Did you spend time in this 'secret bunker' on the edge of Station Field?
    • Or do you know someone who did?
      Any information would be much appreciated.

      Obviously Colin's first thought, like mine, was to visit the 'Subterranea Britannica' website, which is the number one source for information on this kind 
      of thing. The obvious problem, of course, being that these places were 'secret' and no one talked about them. That's why photographs are always going to
      be scarce. Photography would be strictly forbidden
      while the post was operational and most likely 
      no one would have thought of taking pictures when
      it was decommissioned. However, you never know,
      someone might have thought it worth taking a few
      snaps for posterity.
      Here, for what it's worth, is a link to SB's entry
      on the post:

      MIDDLEWICH ROC POST 1965 - 1991

      and here's another link which may be of interest:


      Here's a thought - if we can't turn up any photos of this ROC post, perhaps we could do what we did with
      Niddrie's old school bus and find a picture of one that looked like it? After all, if they were all built to the same design...

        • Feedback from Facebook:
          Geraldine Williams I don't know about the Cold War but there was an ROC post there during the Second World War. My father-in-law, Chris Williams, was an observer there, as was Mr Blackburn from the Gas Board (which was mentioned in your piece on Lower Street).
          Saturday at 21:21 · 
        • Dave Roberts Interesting! So it looks like the 'Cold War' post was not new, but converted from the WWII one. This must have been the case with other ROC posts too, I would imagine.

        John Capper kindly supplied this link to the 28 Days Later site forum which contains a section on a restored ROC site with photographs giving an idea of what the Middlewich site may have looked like.

        • UPDATE: On 14th August 2011, Geraldine Williams advised us that on Page 70 of Alan Earl's book 'Profiles of Middlewich' there's a map of the
          WW2 anti-tank defences at Station Bridge which
          also marks the ROC post.

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