Upottery Airfield: Renovation of Huts

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The renovation of the remaining nissen huts that had formed the major part of the 439th Troop Carrier Groups Headquarters officers mess complex during 1944, was completed during 2013.

The collection of buildings still form part of Cherry Hayes Farm Smeatharpe and remains in the ownership of the Woollacott family.

Some years after the war ended the massive amount of huts that formed the accommodation complex’s for the airfield were sold off by the Ministry of Defense. The result was that the majority of the buildings were dismantled and taken off site.

Thanks to the forward thinking of the late Jim Woollacott these huts remained on site and were used as farm buildings.
However by the turn of the century farming had changed so much that they had become of limited use, and had started falling into decay.
After discussions with the current owners the exterior renovation was part funded by an Environment Sensitive Area Scheme to help preserve the operational significance of the military operations of WWII.
Part of the objective was also to create an historical archive centre which is now occupied by the South West Airfields Heritage Trust on an agreed twenty-five year lease.
Upottery Heritage Centre


This image gives a good idea of the need for renovation. Mr Jim Woollacott had converted the majority of these buildings to house pigs way back in the 1950′s. This included building separate pens, putting down additional floors and in the case of the part of the hut that was to form the heritage centre a concrete storage tank for holding whey a byproduct of cheese making which was ideal for feeding too pigs.
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The same huts nearing completion of external renovation

The Grand opening of our restored Nissen Hut took place on the weekend of June 22/23 2013. It was officially opened at 1300 hrs on Sunday 23rd by our East Devon County Councillor Paul Diviani

 

This was the evening dance

6 comments

  1. Mike Joseph

    Hi
    I am really struggling to find your postal address! It is not on the Gift Aid Declaration of on the SWAHT website, or at least not found it yet! Want to make a donation after my visit about two weeks ago.
    Regards
    Mike

    1. Robin

      Mike thanks for pointing this out. I have now added the address information. Regards Robin

  2. Richard Marsh

    Hi, I have planning permission to restore the last remaining Nissen hut in Wiveliscombe. I wondered which suppliers you used for your exterior? I know of GTEvans.
    Thanks

    Richard

    1. Robin

      Richard, we did not clad the huts that was undertaken by the owners. It is worth shopping around though, one slight problem did show up it is very important to make sure the steel has the correct curvature to give a nice close overlap. I expect we could find out the supplier if you really need it All best Robin

  3. Andy Richards

    That transformation of those Nisen huts and the grounds surrounding is amazing ……… from was to is now., I met your team at Dis For Victory last weekend at Wraxall,

    Very impressive set up from the outside pictures, Ive got some period gear for you to make the place look real inside.
    We will be down for the weekend 11th 12th

  4. james mitchell

    Hi just cant find the words. so il do my best, thank you so much for showing my wife and myself around.We arrived very late that day you were very kind to us,thank you for keeping it so everyone can see.It must not be lost. Thanks to you It never will . Lest we forget. god bless you all. ex sgt James mitchell @wife Ann. hope to see you next year by for now.

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