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On our recent travels to the Norfolk Broads we sighted a brown tourist sign for 'The Radar Museum'. Further investigation revealed a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of air defence radar, the RAF, and various communication systems.
The museum is sited on the RAF Neatishead base, approximately 10 miles north east of Norwich. The base was established during World War 2 as a site to host a brand new air defence station - a ground control intercept station - from where controllers could direct RAF fighters to attack enemy aircraft from Germany.
At the end of World War 2 & with the advent of the Cold War, RAF Neatishead continued to play an increasingly important role in the nation’s air defence. In 1974 Neatishead once again became fully operational as a Sector Operations Centre & as a Control & Reporting Centre (CRC).
Today the base has been reassigned as a remote radar head, tasked with supporting the last two remaining CRC’s at Boulmer and Scampton.
The Museum, originally called the ‘Air Defence Battle Command and Control Museum’, was officially opened in 1994. Today, the Museum is an independent trust & is supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, many who have worked at Neatishead or have very strong links with the base. The aim of the Museum is “to provide a focal point for the heritage associated with the air defence of the United Kingdom and in particular all elements of the command and control organisation associated with it”.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit & thank all the volunteers who were welcoming & informative. A word of advice - one day is not enough to take in all the exhibits! This is certainly a 'tardis' like building with far more space inside than is apparent when entering, so it's fortunate that one day's entry entitles you to free return visits for the following year!
The exhibition rooms include displays connected with - civilians at war, air defence, phone communications, air reconnaisance, radar engineering, the history of Neatishead, Jaguar & Tornado cockpits, the World War 2 operations room, the Cold War operations room & the RAF Coltishall Memorial rooms. There is also a radio room with an amateur radio station, & an excellent cafe!
One final note - we were very pleased to see the many references to Guglielmo Marconi including the bronze bust in the main entrance. A fitting recognition.
A visit to the RAF Air Defence Museum www.radarmuseum.co.uk
For further details of opening times, exhibitions, location & admission charges,
visit the Radar Museum website
or click on the logo...