Future of Second World War ‘huts’ in Upminster in hands of residents
- Credit: Archant
Tucked away in a corner of Upminster Park are two unremarkable brick buildings, their green facades so worn that few passers-by will have given them a second look.
But these blocks have played their part in history, or would have – if the Second World War turned out differently.
They were built as decontamination huts, to protect against the threat of gas in case Germany invaded Britain.
Despite them never needing to be used, the Friends of Upminster Park are calling for the buildings to be listed, with the help of any historical knowledge the community may have.
Member Patricia Flavell, 75, said: “A lot of people don’t know they exist.
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“They are not much to look at, just two green, long buildings, but they are the only ones left in the borough.
“We want to try and do something with them for the community.”
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The Friends group has always been aware of the huts, near St Mary’s Lane, but is making its appeal now as Havering Council is set to consult residents on what they would like to see them used for.
Patricia said: “We had a meeting with some councillors and asked them if we could have some time to find out any history on the huts.
“We also want to hear any suggestions people have for any use they can come up with.”
If it emerges that the buildings are of historical importance, the Friends hopes to apply for listed status through public body Historic England.
Patricia said: “There are brick buildings at the other end of the car park which the council use and at the front there is a wooden hut which is listed.
“It was renovated and refurbished to the standards of a listed building.
“It was used by the New Zealanders in the First World War, when they were staying at Grey Towers, in Hornchurch.”
Even if the members do not have any luck with tracing the buildings’ heritage, they will still appeal for them to become some kind of attraction.
Cllr Ron Ower (Upminster, East Havering Residents’ Group) said Havering Council plans to hold a consultation in September.
He said: “Residents should come forward with their views to local councillors.
“We want to know what they would really like to see there.”
Patricia added: “I think we need to protect the history of our borough.
“We want the huts to be used for all in the community.”