Space Age Fleetwood Radar Training Station up for auction for £50k

Space Age Fleetwood Radar Training Station up for auction for £50k

The Grade II-listed retro futuristic beachfront building dates from the Sixties and was an important part of midcentury maritime history

A cute and groovy little stilted structure in Fleetwood that’s part of Lancashire’s maritime history is about to go under the hammer.

Fleetwood Radar Training Station is being auctioned off early next year with a guide price of £50,000.

Built in 1961 by Lancashire County Council architecture department, the one-of-a-kind building has panoramic view of the Wyre Estury and Morecombe Bay.

With it’s mid-century retro futuristic vibe and tiny footprint, architecture critic Nikolaus Pevsner once described the station as ‘a cute little piece’ for the Architects’ Journal in 1962.

Fleetwood Radar Training Station is set on stilts to raise it above high tide
Lancashire County Council

A Civic Trust Commendation for the station given in 1965 described it as ‘a modest yet dramatic little building’, and it was granted a Grade II listing from Historic England in 2003.

Its radar towers are still in place – but they’re not part of the historic interest listing.

Sitting near to Fleetwood’s stout Victorian-era Lower Lighthouse, the radar station is a single-storey structure raised on pilotis to keep it above high tide.

Fleetwood has three lighthouses, the only town in England to have a hat trick of them. Two lighthouses - including the one next to the radar station - were designed by Victorian architect Decimus Burton and became operation in 1840.

The oval-shaped building has views out over the sea
Lancashire County Council

Some 120 years later, council architects Roger Booth and Eric Morris Hart designed Fleetwood Radar Training Station as an oval shape with a flat roof and expansive gazing on the seafront side.

With it’s curving walls and high-tech-for-the-time antennae, the building has something of the Sixties Space Age about it.

Made from reinforced concrete to withstand the coastal weather, it has timber window frames, flooring and interior fittings in need of some loving restoration.

The station was originally built as a training centre for masters and crews of local boats to teach them about the latest developments in radar technology.

The station was designed as a training centre for boat masters and crews
Lancashire County Council

Honed for detecting and tracking the enemy during the Second World War, radar technology was quickly adopted by the British commercial shipping industry as a tool for navigation.

Early radar systems required a lot of skill for ships’ navigators to use for charting other vessels and potential obstacles in the water around them.

The Fleetwood Radar Training Station has been overseen by the Nautical Studies department of Blackpool and the Fylde College since 1996 but will be returned to the Council ahead of the auction.

“This little building forms an historic and attractive feature, and taken with the historic 1840 lighthouse, forms a vital testimony to Fleetwood's distinguished naval past as well as showing the history of naval communications in our midst in Lancashire,” said county councillor Alan Vincent.

"We hope that by placing this iconic building up for auction, an essential part of our region's wonderful marine history can be preserved for the future, along with Lancashire's distinguished legacy of naval communications in times gone by."

The station was granted a Grade II listing in 2003
Pugh Auctions

With just 169 square metres of floor space, it would make for a compact holiday let or seafront business opportunity. Or it could be preserved for posterity by a dedicated conservationist.

Future owners would need to apply to Wyre Council for planning permission for any changes to the structure.

With a 99-year lease granted in 1961, it has just 37 years left on the lease.

Fleetwood Radar Station is one of several unusual historic seaside structures that have come onto the market recently.

A 168-year-old derelict gun tower off the coast of the Isle of Grain in Kent went up for auction in September with a guide price of £150,000.

A converted First World War watchtower overlooking the North Sea went on the market last month for £500,000.