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First World War pillbox, Second World War pillbox and anti-tank cubes, Merrikin's Pullover

A Grade II Listed Building in South Somercotes, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4394 / 53°26'21"N

Longitude: 0.1744 / 0°10'27"E

OS Eastings: 544530

OS Northings: 395828

OS Grid: TF445958

Mapcode National: GBR YXNN.KS

Mapcode Global: WHJKM.NT84

Entry Name: First World War pillbox, Second World War pillbox and anti-tank cubes, Merrikin's Pullover

Listing Date: 28 June 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1443966

Location: Skidbrooke with Saltfleet Haven, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire, LN11

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey

Civil Parish: Skidbrooke with Saltfleet Haven

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

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North Somercotes

Summary

Pillbox, built 1917, associated pillbox and anti-tank cubes, built 1940-41.

Description

Pillbox, built 1917, associated pillbox and anti-tank cubes, built 1940-41.

MATERIALS: concrete, reinforced with expanded metal lath sheeting (Expamet) and steel rails, poured in-situ with timber shuttering internally, sandbag shuttering externally.

PLAN: single cell trapezoid.

EXTERIOR: NE (seaward) elevation is blind and convex. NW and SE elevations each have a single, low set, wide-splayed machine gun embrasure. The rear has a single, rebated doorway mainly blocked with late C20 brickwork, accessed via a shallow trench. The exterior of the structure has a rusticated appearance left by the sandbag shuttering.

INTERIOR: now largely sand-filled. Below each embrasure there is a recess thought to have accommodated the front leg of the machine gun tripod.

SUBSIDIARY ITEMS:

Second World War pillbox: reinforced concrete poured in situ with timber shuttering, only 0.35m thick (thus bullet/blast proof, not shell proof). Rectangular plan of three cells, the central being an open well with a central concrete post-mounting for a light anti-aircraft machine gun set above an ammunition recess. To either side are bricked-up doorways to the flanking, enclosed chambers, each of which has a single central embrasure to each of the three external faces.

Anti-tank cubes: ten cubes, diamond-set on plan into three rows. Cubes are reinforced concrete measuring approximately 5 feet (1.5m) across.

History

Although it is not known exactly when the First World War pillbox at Merrikin’s Pullover was built, it is clear that it was constructed as part of an organised coastal defence system with a series of near identical pillboxes placed at 1000 yard intervals. Their design, with single machine gun embrasures to either side to produce flanking fire across the fronts of the neighbouring pillboxes, are similar to those developed on the Western front in 1917, such as those at West Hazebrouck. The lack of front facing embrasures; the reinforced, convex curved roof at least 1m thick; and the use of sandbag shuttering to the exterior were all designed to make them ‘shell-proof’ to resist naval bombardment. This design illustrates the rapid evolution in thinking compared to those believed to be slightly earlier built on the Holderness coast north of the Humber. The pillbox is thought to have been manned by soldiers of the 7th/8th (combined) Battalions, Sherwood Foresters.

The pillbox is thought to have been reused in the Second World War, but was complemented with the construction of a second pillbox to its front. This is an example of a Lincolnshire three-bay pillbox, a rectangular pillbox with a central pit for a light anti-aircraft machine gun flanked by enclosed boxes for riflemen, this being a variant of the standard DFW3/23 design. The gap through the sea bank some 100m to the W of the pillboxes was defended with the construction of a set of concrete anti-tank cubes, designed to block the advance of enemy vehicles.

Reasons for Listing

The First World War pillbox, Second World War pillbox and anti-tank cubes, Merrikin's Pullover, built in 1917 and 1940-41, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* Date and rarity: built in 1917, the First World War pillbox is a rare survival;

Architectural interest:

* Technology: as illustrations of the evolving technology and defensive tactics in 1917 and 1940-41;
* Group value: as a coherent linear group of First World War pillboxes functionally and physically associated with later Second World War defensive structures.

Selected Sources

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