Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Blackley World War Two site

Pike Fold, Blackley, Manchester

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Above: The only entrance (the other one is bricked up)

Below: The "arrow slit" for the rifle to defend one of the ends of the building.

Another strange brick building by the roadside - looks a bit like a public toilet with two entrances, one at each end. But...

Why is it so far from the road? Why is it up on a raised area of land overlooking everything? And why is it hidden by trees and serelict buildings?

On entering the building it is obvious this was no toilet. There is no sign of any plumbing and the corridor runs down the back of the building linking up both entrances. Plus each of the "rooms" off the corridor have very small "windows", which on closer inspection have angled bricks like arrow slits in a castle.

There are four main chambers. Two chambers have the "arrow slits" pointing one way, in the other two rooms they point the other way. So this is a defensive building, built for soldiers (the Home Guard?) to defend the road against enemy troops.

At either end of the building, there is a further "arrow slit" to defend the ends of the building.

 

So what are they defending that needs so many firing points? Well, behind the pub and shops was (at the time of the war) the main ICI building in the area. And they would have been doing their bit for the war effort...

Below: Left and Middle - two of the chambers and the narrow slits for guns.

Below Right: A close up of one of the "arrow slits" taken from the outside, showing bricks on a 45 degree angle.

Right: The front of the building, and the four "arrow slits" for the guns.

Below Left: some sort of storage cupboard? Or a place to step back and hide from an intruder?

Below Right: The entrance and the reinforced concrete roof. There are some huge concrete roof supports inside.

Right: The building seems to have been built on top of the site of an old mill. The remains of this structure and the trees hide it slightly. But it is hard to imagine the scene during the war.