Air Raid Precautions control buildings

The Town Clerk in 1940, Colin Campbell, had the added responsibility of being the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) controller.  When bombed out of the municipal offices facing the Guildhall Square in 1941, he and his staff set up a new office in Pounds House and it became the ARP Control Centre, also known as the Plymouth Report Centre.  

The centre had a team of despatch riders attached to it to ensure uninterrupted communications with ARP posts that were spread across the city. 

ARP despatch riders

The ARP posts were strongly built of brick and concrete.  ARP Wardens were based in them to assist people in and out of public air raid shelters when sirens sounded and to report bomb damage to the Control Centre.  One such ARP post remains just inside the Barn Park entrance although it was converted into a tool store for use by conservation volunteers in 2016.  During the war, the building would not have had a door on it whilst an internal blast wall would have provided some protection for the warden inside. 

The ARP post by the Barn Park entrance in 2022 (Andrew Young)

In 1943, a single-storey windowless extension was added to Pounds House specifically to house the ARP control functions.    

The ARP extension at Pounds House before demolition c2009

After the war, the extension became first the Borough Control Centre and then a Civil Defence Training Centre until final closure in 1968.  Its demolition was approved in 2009 (planning application 09/00483/FUL) and completed shortly afterwards with the walled yard restored to view.  The Town Clerk’s office remained at Pounds House until 1962 when it moved into the new Civic Centre.

The view in 2022 with the ARP extension gone (Andrew Young)