Top secret RAF base turned museum at Neatishead set to open its doors to the public for longer
PUBLISHED: 11:44 31 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:43 31 July 2017
It played a pivotal role in defending the country during the Second World War and monitored hostile activity in the skies until the end of the Cold War.
The RAF Air Defence Radar station at Neatishead, near Horning, was top secret when it first opened in 1941.
It could direct RAF fighters, day or night, to attack enemy aircraft
from Germany as they launched raids against military and industrial targets in Norfolk.
Now a museum, it provides a unique window into the history of radar.
It charts the history of radar and air defence and includes 20 rooms and external exhibits from mobile radar units to a Bloodhound surface to air missile that formed the backbone of the UK’s last resort defence capability during the Cold War.
Its star exhibit is the fully intact Cold War operations room, which is exactly as it was when the former Soviet Union collapsed.
Gregory Hayman was recently appointed manager at the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum.
And he revealed plans to extend its opening hours to give more people a glimpse into the past.
Mr Hayman said: “I am thrilled to be joining this wonderful museum. It really is a tremendous honour to be leading the team here. We have over 1000 world class exhibits and the fact that the museum is housed on the original site gives it an authenticity and unique quality that some museums can only dream of.
“One of the first challenges is to try and open our doors on additional days so that even more people can visit.
“Currently, we open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and the second Saturday of the month. And during this August, we will be opening on Wednesdays too.
“The museum is a bit like the Tardis, much bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside, and you can travel back in time everyday to the 1940s and capture the atmosphere of the height of the Cold War. We have tremendous exhibits too, including a Jaguar and a Victor cockpit.”
Sir John Allison, chairman of the trustees and patron of the museum, said the appointment would help them build on past successes. He added: “We aim to look at exciting ways of attracting new audiences including securing visits from more school groups. The museum is entirely self-funding and as well as comprising listed buildings has a unique story to tell.”