For sale – a rural retreat with stunning sea views and a fabulous reception room. Ideal, in fact, for anyone who wants to really get away from it all.
On the market for just £50,000, the purchaser of this property in Dalby will secure a unusual piece of Manx architectural and military history that was part of a system that played a vital role in protecting the British Isles from enemy aircraft.
For this is a bunker built at the start of the Second World War as part of quite an extensive radar complex.
On the market with Crystals as an investment property, an open hour was held for potential purchasers and the merely curious on Tuesday.
Constructed of brick and reinforced concrete, the bunker is covered in soil and grass used for camouflage.
The main hall, measuring 35ft by 24ft with a 14ft-high ceiling, boasts a dog-legged blast corridor, designed to protect the radar personnel in the event of enemy bombardment.
There’s also a lobby, hall and store room. To the rear is a good-sized grassed area.
The downside is that access is only by right of way over a gated private lane used by the Water Authority to reach an underground sewage treatment plant next door.
Among those who attended the open hour was Andy Johnson, field archaeologist with Manx National Heritage.
He said: ‘In Manx terms, it’s important because it’s part of what I would judge to be the best preserved of the three sites that were built as part of the island’s radar system.
‘In the wider British Isles context, it’s one of a number of sites that are getting fewer every year as they are reused or demolished.’
The bunker which is up for sale was actually used as the standby generator for the Dalby radar complex.
It was built in 1939-40 as part of a system which included two other sites – at Bride and Scarlett. A similar network of radar stations in South East England proved critical in winning the Battle of Britain.
Each site had massive radar masts reaching up to 300 feet high. Dalby was designed to detect high flying aircraft. It saw use throughout the war and for a short time afterwards.
It was decommissioned in 1946-47 but was only mothballed until 1949 when it was due to have been brought back into use in the face of the new nuclear threat posed by the Soviet Union.
Mr Johnson said: ‘The whole of the West was rocked by the revelation that Russia had built the atomic bomb. They reactivated a lot of the radar stations. But they could not get Dalby to work - it had not been mothballed quite as well as it should have been and was abandoned in 1949-50.’
Remains of the radar stations at Bride and Scarlett still exist as do those at Mull Hill, Cregneash, built in 1940 to detect low-flying aircraft. Remains of Cold War nuclear bunkers also survive. These were part of a network of Royal Observer Corps posts to provide information to the RAF in the event of a nuclear attack.