Harwich’s RADAR tower is a truly unique place to visit

How often do you get the chance to visit somewhere and say you are standing in the first of its type in the world?! Well – a visit to Harwich’s World War II RADAR tower certainly gives you that opportunity.

The RADAR tower in Barrack Lane in Harwich was built both to defend the fleet based in Harwich and also to protect the coast against invasion. When it opened in April 1941 it was the first purpose built RADAR tower in the world. When it ceased operation in December 1943, it was locked up with its original 21’ aerial array still in place. As a result, Harwich’s RADAR tower offers a unique view of the origins of operational RADAR and it is believed that the equipment on its top floor is the only surviving Type 287 array anywhere in the world.

The RADAR tower is a Harwich Society visitor attraction and its curators, Peter and Julie Appleton, have spent the winter months ensuring that this season’s exhibits will be even more fascinating than what has previously been on display. Peter has built a reconstruction of the original resonance chamber and also built replica valves so that visitors will get to see the type of equipment that originally operated RADAR and how it worked.

Peter Appleton says, “Harwich’s RADAR tower is a unique and important part of World War II history as well as showing the origins of a technology that has become so vital in peace time. It is incredible to think we still have the original array in place after all of this time.”

The RADAR tower will open its doors to the public for the first time in 2022 on Sunday 3rd April between 11AM and 3PM. Admission is free of charge but donations are very gratefully accepted. The RADAR tower will then open at the same times on Sunday 17th April (Easter Sunday), Sunday 1st May, Sunday 15th May and Sunday 29th May. Subsequent dates are yet to be confirmed.

Harwich Society chairman, Colin Farnell, says, “There are so many reasons why our town deserves to be known as ‘Historic Harwich’ and the RADAR tower is certainly well up that list. To have the world’s first purpose built RADAR tower with the original array still in place is mind blowing. It is yet another reason to visit Historic Harwich!”

For further information please contact

Curator, Peter Appleton at radartower@harwich-society.co.uk

Or Press Officer, Garry Calver on 01255 551940

PICTURED: Curators Peter and Julie Appleton – Harwich RDF Radar Tower – Photo Copyright © Maria Fowler 2022