HISTORY




Coke Production Plant, Hebburn (Site TT217)

   Site TT217, a former British antiaircraft position, was occupied by B Battery in 1944. Today, the coke production plant that occupied much of the site is gone and a landscaped, "green field" remains, a portion of which is destined for redevelopment.

   Mike Ellison, who maintains a web site devoted to Hebburn, writes (2/11/2001):
   I phoned my old dad to confirm what I already thought. He told me that the AA battalion was indeed located at the south end of Mill Lane in Hebburn (road number B1306) near the junction with the A194 road about 100 yards from the site of the Monkton Coke Works. (See maps below, reprinted from multimap.com; the first map shows Hebburn/Monkton in relation to Newcastle proper, and the second shows a closer view of the Mill Lane site.)

HEBBURN LOCATOR MAP (91 K)

COKE WORKS LOCATOR MAP (65 K)


   My dad mentioned that it had been manned by Americans for part of the war. I'm 50 years old and I can remember the AA battery huts which stood on the site for many years after the war. They were eventually replaced when the farm (Red Barnes Farm) opened a retail 'Garden Centre' selling plants and flowers, etc. It is still called Red Barnes Farm. The Monkton coke works eventually closed only a couple of years ago and the whole site has now been landscaped.

   And from the THIS SURE IS A SMALL WORLD DEPARTMENT!, Mike adds: But it seems that my older sisters' husband's father (who died over 20 years ago) was involved in the construction of those wartime shelters and gun emplacements, etc.

   My dad also pointed out that that the Mill Lane site was occupied by different units at various times during the war — so it could be the 'remains' which I've photographed have nothing to do with the 225th. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We've posted the photos anyway, to jog the memories of those that may have been there.)

   As far as my parents can remember, the wartime GIs were billeted in two Hebburn locations: (a) on the Mill Lane site, and (b) on what is now called Ushaw Road about 1.5 miles away on the East side of the town. Wooden army huts were built along one side of Ushaw Road, backing onto the Golf Links. This had been a 9-hole course, but I don't think it was ever reopened after the war. The site now contains the local swimming baths, a police station and a pub. But in my youth it contained a weird structure only about 10 bricks high. This had been intended to be a school (I think), but the foundations hadn't been prepared properly and so it started to subside almost immediately and was abandoned. This left a brilliant place for us kids to play!"


PHOTO 1 (16 K)

The site of the former coke production plant at the top of Mill Lane, Hebburn.
Click on the image to view a larger version (all photos courtesy Pennies from Hebburn.)

PHOTO 2 (18 K)

Another view of the same site. Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 3 (12 K)

Another view of the same site. Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 4 (18 K)

Gate for the new business park. Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 5 (12 K)

Path of the old railway line. Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 6 (12 K)

Looking back up Mill Lane, with a modern sculpture and new gate in view.
Click on the image to view a larger version.



Mike Ellison's Photos of Structures
in the Red Barnes Farm Area
(Possible Remains of AAA Site)

PHOTO 1 (15 K)

Main concrete construction on the east of the site (photo taken from the North).
There appears to have been entrances at either end of the back (West) wall.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 2 (15 K)

A similar view of the same structure.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 3 (12 K)

Another view taken from a few yards East of the first photo.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 4 (17 K)

"Difficult to figure this construction out," writes Mike, "but again
the photo is taken from the North side of the site. The brickwork
may have been added later, but the mound is clearly part of the
wartime construction." Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 5 (21 K)

This is the same mound taken from the East side.
Its wartime origins are more obvious in this view.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 6 (15 K)

Note the steel door in the center of this construction (below the tree).
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 7 (15 K)

"Can't say for certain, but I think the front, small, single-story building
(to the left of the car) may have been part of the original site.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 12 (12 K)

A shot from the opposite side of the field showing another one of the "bunker" doors.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 8 (12 K)

Another similar small building in the Southwest corner of the field.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 9 (17 K)

Direct line view towards the site of the former Monkton Coke Works
about 250 yards away (marked with an arrow)
NOTE: The proximity of the tower block is an optical illusion;
it is actually another 300 yards away (North-Northeast).
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 10 (18 K)

Red Barnes Farm House, which is situated 50 yards
Northwest of the WW II–era field buildings.
Click on the image to view a larger version.

PHOTO 11 (18 K)

Slightly closer view of the farmhouse itself. It hardly looks
like any time has passed. Can you picture
some AAA men walking across the field to their positions?
Click on the image to view a larger version.


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