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Latitude: 51.9163 / 51°54'58"N
Longitude: -1.1437 / 1°8'37"W
OS Eastings: 458994
OS Northings: 224538
OS Grid: SP589245
Mapcode National: GBR 8X4.ZLB
Mapcode Global: VHCX4.437B
Entry Name: Building 33 (Barrack Block)
Listing Date: 1 December 2005
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1392759
English Heritage Legacy ID: 500284
Location: Caversfield, Cherwell, Oxfordshire, OX27
Civil Parish: Caversfield
Built-Up Area: Bicester
Traditional County: Oxfordshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire
Church of England Parish: Bicester with Caversfield
Church of England Diocese: Oxford
1714/0/10016 SKIMMINGDISH LANE (SW)
01-DEC-05 DCTA Site, RAF Bicester
Building 33 (Barrack Block)
Barrack block. Dated 1934. By the Air Ministry's Directorate of Works and Buildings to drawing no 1778/34. Dark red brickwork in stretcher bond, hipped slate roofs.
PLAN: Dormitory rooms taking maximum 16 airmen on each side of central entrance and staircase, with short service block to rear, the whole forming T-plan with short centre arm.
EXTERIOR: Single-storey. Windows mainly timber 12-pane sash, some 8-pane, and some smaller in service block. Articulated in 2+2+2 bays, the windows evenly spaced in the older buildings, but with paired groupings in the later ones. The centre unit has square turrets brought forward slightly, with separate hipped roofs, flanking a central pair of 3-panel doors under a deep panel, recessed, and with a projecting flat concrete hood. Windows set to flush, chamfered and stopped concrete lintels, and with stooled sills. Roofs are all slightly swept to the box eaves with deep soffits.
INTERIOR: retains original doors and joinery.
HISTORY: This building retains the architectural style of the first phase of buildings - representative of the first permanent designs for Britain's independent air force - on this uniquely well-preserved and historically important site.
Bicester is the best-preserved of the bomber bases constructed as the principal arm of Sir Hugh Trenchard's expansion of the RAF from 1923, which was based on the philosophy of offensive deterrence. It retains, better than any other military airbase in Britain, the layout and fabric relating to both pre-1930s military aviation and the development of Britain's strategic bomber force - and the manner in which its expansion reflected domestic political pressures as well as events on the world stage - in the period up to 1939. It was this policy of offensive deterrence that essentially dominated British air power and the RAF's existence as an independent arm of the military in the inter-war period, and continued to determine its shape and direction in the Second World War and afterwards during the Cold War. The grass flying field still survives with its 1939 boundaries largely intact, bounded by a group of bomb stores built in 1938/9 and airfield defences built in the early stages of the Second World War. For much of the Second World War RAF Bicester functioned as an Operational Training Unit, training Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders as well as British air crews for service in Bomber Command. These OTUs, of which Bicester now forms the premier surviving example, fulfilled the critical requirement of enabling bomber crews - once individual members had trained in flying, bombing, gunnery and navigation - to form and train as units.
For further historical details see Building 16 (Officers' Quarters and Mess).
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