Saturday, 21 May 2016

RAF Barnham Nuclear Bomb Store a historic location in Suffolk

In the early 1960s, the nuclear weapons storage and chemical weapon filling station facility RAF Barnham Nuclear Bomb Store was put up for sale, bought by Keith Eldred and renamed the Gorse Industrial Estate.  It was also the site for testing the first tanks used in the first World War.
English Heritage has now designated this site as a scheduled monument and several buildings on the site have listed building status. Small buildings arranged around the large non nuclear component stores were used to store the fissile cores. Fifty-five of these buildings were made up of two designs to house one storage container, or two storage containers.
Unfortunately, the stainless steel containers have been removed leaving only the holes. The doors to the stores are made of wood covered in steel and secured with a combination lock. The door has a large spring loaded electrical door contact which sent a signal to the control building to indicate if the door was open or closed. There is enough capacity to store 64 fissile cores on this site. The single hole stores contained plutonium cores and the double hole stores contained cobalt cores. Given the number of available nuclear warheads in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s it is unlikely that the Barnham store was ever full. The open design of Barnham nuclear store could easily be seen from the air and this designs purpose was to convince the Soviet Union that Britain had more weapons at her disposal than was in fact the case. Four watch-towers dominate the site.  It was an interesting topic to photograph.








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