planning and managing

Heritage Lottery funded project investigates unknown structure


Archaeological investigation unearths more questions than answers

The National Trust, Surrey County Archaeological Unit and a group of volunteers teamed up last month to investigate an unidentified military structure on Reigate Hill. The structure, formerly believed to be an observation post, lies some two hundred metres or so from Reigate Fort and was investigated as part of the Front Line Surrey Hills project. The project team are uncertain as to the date of the structure and need your help to unearth its mysteries.

Volunteers spent two days clearing the overgrown site of vegetation and recorded the structure’s features. Comprising two entrances, four windows on the south facing side and several ventilation holes, the structure measures roughly 8m long and 3m wide. Despite its prominent position on the crest of Reigate Hill, the structure doesn’t appear to occupy a defensive position – there’s no evidence that camouflage netting was attached to it by hooks and the windows appear to have domestic fixings. Roofed in austerity concrete, a cheap concrete with lots of inclusions, the remainder of the structure is brick built.

The floor of the structure sits some 1.5m below ground level and there’s no clear evidence for steps leading down into the building. What’s more, the structure’s windows are set too high to see out of if standing on the floor.
Paul Bowen, keen military historian and member of the Front Line Surrey Hills team says “Reigate Hill and this unidentified structure are still very much a mystery to us. There’s 100 years of Surrey’s military history here with Reigate Fort, various unidentified structures and the site of a tragic Second World War plane crash. Despite this we still know very little about the area’s military history.” Paul continues “We would be so pleased to hear from readers who remember Reigate Hill during the Second World War; what structures do they recall on the hill, who was based there and what the buildings were used for?” Despite extensive investigations and desk based research, the project team are still uncertain about much of Reigate Hill’s military history. Can you help? If so, you can contact Paul Bowen directly on 07968 832367 or by email at paul.bowen@surreycc.gov.uk