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Plans to preserve ‘one of kind’ WW2 fortification submitted

11 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Skinners monument pillbox

Dale Spridgeon Local Democracy Reporter

A scheme to preserve an historic and unusual Second World War defensive feature which may have been disguised to look like a garden folly will come before Anglesey planners.

Listed building consent is being sought to carry out alterations and repairs at the Skinner’s Monument Pillbox at Holyhead.

Dated circa 1940, the Grade II Listed Building is described as an “unusual example” of this type of fortification.

The design is believed to be only one of its kind on the island.

Plans to alter and repair the historic feature will be considered by Anglesey County Council’s planning and orders committee today.

The circular structure is located on a hilly patch of scrubland but is now surrounded by modern housing.

It would have looked out towards the sea and Holyhead Port.

The solid structure takes its name from the nearby stone obelisk memorial known as Skinner’s Monument.

The plans describe how pillboxes were quickly constructed during the Second World War to provide coastal defences in case of a full-scale invasion of mainland Britain.

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Look out

They provided a safe look out and a protected place where weapons could be fired through narrow slitted windows.

Due to the urgency of their construction and the scale of work across the country during the War, stocks of cement and other building materials were soon depleted.

This resulted in local materials and some unique designs being adopted.

It was this “vernacular architecture” of pillboxes that contributed “greatly to their significance” the application heritage impact report reads.

“At the Skinners Monument Pillbox the roofed primary area has been given a castellated appearance and this may have been carried out to disguise the pillbox as a Victorian folly, this design is unique to Holy Island.”

The building is described as being made up of grey rubble with some brick on concrete foundations.

Its wall head has rubble set on end, giving the effect of being a folly or garden architecture.

It has a square-headed doorway, two tiers of loops, a concrete roof and a detached curving screen wall to protect the entrance.

Repairs

The planning application has been submitted by Efan Milner for Anglesey County Council through the agent Pieter Jacobs of the Ramboll company.

The plans call for repairs which include fixing cracks and loose render and repointing and re-rendering in lime mortar.

Missing stones would also be replaced and the work would include waterproofing, drainage and concrete repairs, including to the structure’s top slab.

A new crushed stone path in local stone is also proposed as currently there is no access to the structure.

The nearby Skinner’s Monument, close to the Pillbox celebrates a Holyhead character – the American born sea Captain John Macgregor Skinner, who died at sea in 1832.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
22 days ago

Go for it…as Reg Chambers Jones and others would no doubt say…

There are a couple pill boxes and a mile of tank traps on Fairbourne Spit that need preserving too…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
22 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

If this period in Wales captures your imagination Les Darbyshire’s ‘Our Backyard War’; ‘West Merioneth during the Second World War’ (Y Lolfa 2015) is an excellent bay-window on those times…

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
22 days ago

Ynys Môn is filled with relics from WWII, mostly to defend against the feared German invasion via the Irish Free State. The vast majority have no protection whatsoever

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