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Building Nos 129, 130 and 131 (Motor Transport Sheds)

A Grade II Listed Building in Bicester, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9147 / 51°54'52"N

Longitude: -1.1415 / 1°8'29"W

OS Eastings: 459148

OS Northings: 224368

OS Grid: SP591243

Mapcode National: GBR 8X5.S9V

Mapcode Global: VHCX4.54DJ

Entry Name: Building Nos 129, 130 and 131 (Motor Transport Sheds)

Listing Date: 1 December 2005

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393044

English Heritage Legacy ID: 497532

Location: Launton, Cherwell, Oxfordshire, OX26

County: Oxfordshire

District: Cherwell

Civil Parish: Launton

Built-Up Area: Bicester

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Launton

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Listing Text


1714/0/10059 RAF Bicester: Technical Site
01-DEC-05 Building Nos 129, 130 and 131 (Motor T
ransport Sheds)

Three ranges of motor transport sheds. 1927 (Buildings 129 and 131) and 1937 (Building 130). By the Air Ministry's Directorate of Works and Buildings, to drawing number 6225/37 (130), 2033-5/26 (129 and 131). Steel framing with in-situ cast concrete or brick walling, diagonal asbestos-cement slate roofs.

PLAN: The two parallel ranges (129 and 131) face a wide concrete manoeuvring apron, and were complemented by a later shed (130) to provide a 3-sided yard. They are basic garages, with 6 low and 3 higher bays in the left-hand unit (129), in turn linked to a later workshop adjacent to the avenue (not included). To the right (131) are 6 high bays, with 2 lower, left, and workshops to the right, with a broad-span roof to an outer end gable.

EXTERIOR: The inner fronts of 129 and 131 have steel H-stanchions tied back to similar verticals housing full-width roller shutters to each garage, but one unit in 131 has later external sliding doors. Gable and rear walls normally in steel frame set flush to cast concrete walls, but the higher bays to 129 have Flemish bond brickwork gables and rear wall, including two external piers to the outer gable end. The broad- span section also has cast concrete walling, with various openings. In front of the dividing stanchions between garages is a protective concrete block set to the paving.

Building 130 has four large part-glazed timber doors hung to bold bull-nosed concrete piers, below a continuous lintel band, above which are horizontal clerestory windows. Plain gable ends, brick rear wall with four large vertical steel casements.

INTERIOR: Steel trusses to steel stanchions or brick piers.

HISTORY: The Technical Site at Bicester, separated from the Domestic Site, still has many of the original buildings, mostly of 1926 but with others added during successive phases of the 1930's Expansion Period. This is an unusually complete example of an important surviving group, motor transport comprising a key function on military air bases. The group is entered from the main avenue, and is sited opposite the Station Stores (qv), all part of a uniquely 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 Buildings Nos 79 and 137 (Type 'A' Hangars).

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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