Photo gallery: A flying start to the year for Langham Dome project

Development manager Kate Fair and chairman of the Friends of Langham Dome Patrick Allen outside Langham Dome. Picture: Ian Burt Development manager Kate Fair and chairman of the Friends of Langham Dome Patrick Allen outside Langham Dome. Picture: Ian Burt

Saturday, January 11, 2014
6:30 AM

Ambitious plans to bring to life the fascinating history of a Second World War anti-aircraft gunner training base near Wells have made a flying start to the new year.

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Troop training

The Langham Dome, built in 1942, was a training base for anti-aircraft gunners.

It was one of 40 built across the country - but there are now just six in existence.

The Langham Dome used what was at the time cutting edge technology to train ground to air gunners.

Servicemen from the UK, Australia and New Zealand would train inside and images of aircraft would be projected onto the walls.

The spherical shape would enable them to simulate firing at aircraft from all angles and the gunners would then be trained in firing live ammunition at nearby Weybourne and Stiffkey.

Langham Dome was once owned by Bernard Matthews Ltd as it is next to one of the company’s turkey farms, but was donated to The North Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust, which is working with the Friends of Langham Dome on the restoration project.

Volunteers working to transform the Langham Dome into an education centre and tourist attraction have announced the appointment of a paid development manager.

Kate Faire, who lives in Burnham Overy, begins her role this month.

She has a degree in war studies from King’s College, London and has worked as a political researcher leading to a career in public affairs and lobbying.

More recently, Mrs Faire has worked for a film production company helping produce programmes for ITV and corporate films for private clients, including the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the NHS.

She said: “Langham Dome is the most wonderful building; intrinsically mysterious in shape, with a fascinating history.

“What went on in the dome was technologically pioneering and above all, it is a memorial to those who served at RAF Langham, particularly those that made the ultimate sacrifice – many from the other side of the world.

“The opportunity to promote and share Langham Dome’s history with visitors from far and wide is fantastic. I can’t wait to get started.”

Mrs Faire’s role will involve recruiting volunteers to work at the dome and she is now looking for people interested in doing this.

She will be helping to oversee and market the project, which has been ongoing for three years.

The Friends of Langham Dome formed in 2010 and have since raised the £650,000 needed to give the dome a future and reveal its past.

They have secured grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Pilgrim Trust and the Landfill Community Fund and the North Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust will be adding a further £15,000.

Information to explain the dome’s history and its significance will be displayed, using modern projection and sound equipment.

There will also be displays about Second World War aircrews, aircraft and squadrons that served at the former RAF base at Langham.

Ugly Studios of Norwich, has won the contract to design and supply hi-tech interpretative displays within the dome.

Patrick Allen, chairman of the Friends of Langham Dome, who together with, Malcolm Crowder of the North Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust, has masterminded the project, is delighted with progress.

He said: “The pieces in this fascinating renovation project are gradually fitting together.”

An opening date has not yet been confirmed but it is hoped the dome could be open to the public at some point this summer.

For more information about the Langham Dome project and to become a volunteer, go to the website www.friendsoflanghamdome.org or e mail kate.faire@btinternet.com

Are you involved in a heritage project? E mail newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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