Steeton Pillboxes

Below is the official designation for the pillboxes at Steeton in West Yorkshire, courtesy of English Heritage. more about Steeton Royal Ordnance Factory more about the individual pillboxes:

Type 24 Two storey variant pillbox

Type 26 Fire Posts more about the staff who worked there between 1941 and 1945

This is text of the English Heritage Grade Two listing of the three pillboxes, which were given this status in December 2009:


1772/0/10042 PARKWAY
WW2 Pillbox and 2 Fire Posts south of Former Royal Ordnance Factory

A pillbox and two fire posts, sited in a field to the south of a former Royal Ordnance Factory, the fire posts in the south-west (fire post 2) and south-east (fire post 1) corners of the field and the pillbox nearer to the factory to the east. The ground rises to the south towards the eastern end of the field.

The pillbox and fire posts are of brick construction with reinforced concrete roofs and precast concrete embrasures, and the pillbox also has a shuttered concrete first floor. The bricks used were Phorpres bricks in English garden wall bond, 23" thick on the pillbox.

EXTERIOR: The pillbox is a two-storey variant of a Type 24 design, a hexagonal design with the rear wall expanded to accommodate two rifle loopholes rather than one.

INTERIOR: Access is via the rear door on the ground floor, and there is a transverse anti-ricochet wall across the interior. Behind the anti-ricochet wall is a hatch to the first floor, accessed by a steel ladder of which only the top 2 rungs survive with a portion of handrail and a guard rail. There are no openings on the ground floor other than the entrance. The anti-ricochet wall continues up through the first floor to the roof. Each wall of the first floor is pierced by a wide double splay embrasure, apart from the rear wall which has two embrasures. The embrasures are pre-
cast, consisting of four parts; sill, two jambs and lintel, and have a wider internal splay than the external. The roof is c.9" thick. The first floor internal walls are daubed with paint and there is some graffiti, none of original date.

EXTERIOR: The fire posts, also known as police or guard posts, are low square buildings with brick walls 13.5 " (34.29cm) thick and flat concrete roofs. There is a wide, internally splayed embrasure on each wall, pre-cast in two pieces, an upper and a lower half. Beneath the embrasure on one side is the entrance, and extending from the wall alongside is a low brick wall with a right angle return facing the entrance.

INTERIOR: Inside the western post (fire post 2), on the north wall is a wooden batten which would have supported a shelf for a telephone. There is a limited amount of modern graffiti.

HISTORY: The earliest examples of pillboxes date from the First World War, but the concept was developed in the early stages of the Second World War, when many thousands were built, though only a limited proportion survive. They were placed at strategic locations, many along 'stop lines' intended to slow down the progress of an attacking force. Others were built to defend important installations such as airfields or munitions factories. The example at Steeton falls into the latter category, and was part of the defences around the Royal Ordnance Factory. Pillboxes were designed to house artillery or more rarely machine guns, and twelve basic designs were approved by the War Office, though in practice these were often varied according to local considerations. The Steeton pillbox is a variant of Type 24 which was designed for a garrison of eight. Two fire posts also survive as part of the defensive network around the factory. The factory has largely been replaced with later structures, though some original buildings appear to survive amid the later industrial buildings on the site.

Brown, Burridge, Clarke, Guy, Hellis, Lowry, Ruckley & Thomas: 20th Century Defences in Britain (1996), 66-85 Dobinson, C.S., Twentieth Century Fortifications in England: Vol II, Anti-Invasion
Defences of WWII (1996), 157-67

The two-storey pillbox and two fire posts at Steeton, Keighley, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: the pillbox is an extremely rare example of a two-storey Type 24 pillbox from the Second World War, one of only four known surviving examples
* Intactness: the pillbox and two fire posts are unaltered and complete * Group Value: the pillbox and two fire posts form a group of defensive structures guarding a Royal Ordnance Factory.

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