Box Hill Mobilisation Centre : Alec Beanse

 

Plan of Box Hill by Alec Beanse Isometric drawing of Box Hill Mobilisation Centre by Roger Gill

Plan of Box Hill

Isometric drawing of Box Hill

 

Aerial view of Box Hill on Google Maps

 

At Box Hill the caretakers cottages and tool store are located just off the road that climbs up on to the Downs then carries on towards Betchworth. Neither are immediately recognizable as such as a result of alterations by the National Trust who own the site. The cottages have been turned into an office and tea room

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre cottages

and the tool store extended to house the NT shop and a display area, the addition to the right hand end being noticeable on close inspection.

Pewley Hill Mobilisation Centre Tool Store

Further off the road, behind the cottages, is the centre itself. It’s almost identical to Betchworth in design, varying only in the orientation of the lamp room and having a rounded trace rather than the angular one seen at Betchworth. As can be seen all the casemate block’s doors and windows retain their loopholed bulletproof shutters.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Casemates

 

The casemates here were never provided with earth cover but the deeper set magazines were.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Profile

 

At the east end entry is through an arched gateway, the adjacent wall has two loopholes in as did the now missing gates.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre East courtyard

At the west end of the casemate block is a further gateway again set into a loopholed wall

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre West Entrance

leading to the west courtyard where the doorway through to the magazines is again blocked as is the window to the right for the lamp room

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre West Courtyard

Inside this door is the access to the block of casemates, all of which are connected by a series of doorways.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Casemate

On the other side of the passage is the lamp room where brackets for the shelves can be see as can the now blocked window.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Lamp Room

Past the lamp room the passage turns and descends to the magazine passage. At the top of the stairs down is the fuze and tube store.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Fuze and Tube Store

In the passage, fitted to the wall either side of the door to the cartridge store, can be seen the remains of the barriers for the shifting lobby. At the far end are the steps leading up to lamp room.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Passage

A centrally placed cartridge store

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Cartridge Store

is flanked by two shell stores

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Shell Store

The roof of the magazine block is formed by shallow brick arches set between rolled steel joists overlaid with concrete. The hole is for a ventilator that dog legs through the concrete so as not to provide a direct path for an incoming shell.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Arches

The whole block is surrounded by a lamp passage

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Lamp Passage

giving access to the lamp recesses.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Lamp Recess

At the eastern end of the magazine passage a second flight of steps leads back up to the other courtyard. At the top of the steps is a second fuse and tube store, one door of which can be seen open

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre East Steps

Interestingly an alternate, undated, drawing has survived for a simpler design where the casemates are simply mounded over and fenced off. Somewhat bizarrely the lamp room was to do double duty as guard room.

Box Hill Mobilisation Centre Simpler Design

 

The London Mobilisation Centres by Alec Beanse and Roger Gill

 

The London Mobilisation Centres by Alec Beanse and Roger Gill - Price £7.50 plus 90p postage

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