Cold War 'pagoda' on Orford Ness


At about 16km in length, Orford Ness is the longest shingle spit in Europe and for much of its history it was a lonely wind-swept spot frequented only by birds and grazing animals. It gained a lighthouse in 1792, but its greatest period of use was from 1956 to 1972 when the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment was based here. Now derelict and abandoned, the concrete Vibration Test Buildings or ‘pagodas’ of 1960 are powerful but eerie reminders of the Cold War.

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Further reading

Cocroft, W. and Alexander, M., Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Orford Ness, Suffolk. Cold War Research & Development Site. Survey Report, English Heritage Research Dept. Report Series no. 10-2009.