The Village inside a Military Firing Range

Last night I popped along to a lecture on Brutalism and Militarised Space hosted by the Art and Architecture organisation. The event was based around three speakers followed by a short Q&A session and was a mixture of talking about military spaces, the melancholy design in architecture and a project to recreate four lost pubs in the Barbican.

It was an interesting talk – although I got a bit lost in some of Rory O’Callaghan’s talk about how architecture reflected the emotions of war.

However, the bit which really made me Googling away this morning was a comment by Mathew Flintham about a village which sits inside an MOD firing range – and hence all the residents have to enter and leave by a very strict timetable otherwise they could be traveling through a live firing range.

Despite the tight security and travel restrictions, people love to live there, and the village has a population of around 200 souls – after all, when you have an army protecting your homes there isn’t a lot of hassle with crime or unruly behaviour.

It is also very difficult to visit the village, as you need a prior invitation and have your name passed to the MOD checkpoints – and naturally your visit has to conform to their armaments testing regime.

What they do have though – is a heritage centre, the Foulness Heritage Centre which opened a few years ago – as the site, the Isle of Foulness has a long history, and thanks to the lack of development on the land it is an archeology delight. The heritage centre is also open to the public on the 1st Sunday of the month during the summer months – so that is coincidentally the only time you can visit the village without a prior invitation.

I think I shall pay a visit next summer – as it sounds like a very interesting place, and quite unique in the UK.

Incidentally – I was going to make a quip at the talk about living in such a military environment about the trains running on time – and to my great delight, I learnt in my research today that the estate actually does have a private railway!

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