Iconic RAF Control Tower Transformed into Exclusive Vacation Retreat

Preserving the Past: RAF Watchtower Receives Remarkable Transformation

by Nouman Rasool
Iconic RAF Control Tower Transformed into Exclusive Vacation Retreat

A dilapidated wartime watchtower on the verge of collapse is set to transform into a stunning four-bedroom holiday home. The ambitious £3.1 million project aims to preserve the legacy of RAF Ibsley, a significant Second World War air base located in Hampshire, England.

During the height of Britain's battle against Hitler, RAF Ibsley played a crucial role as crews soared through its airspace. This historic site starred in the acclaimed 1942 film The First of the Few, featuring renowned actors Leslie Howard and David Niven.

The Landmark Trust, a revered conservation charity, spearheads the effort to raise the necessary funds for the extensive renovations. With plans to commence in early 2024, the charity aims to restore the watchtower to its former glory and preserve its remarkable history.

The watchtower, a remarkable example of a 'Type 518/40' RAF watch office, is one of only 29 ever built. Constructed during the heart of the Second World War, RAF Ibsley stood as a strong base for Spitfire and Typhoon fighters.

However, as time passed, many similar control towers and watchtowers were sadly demolished, leaving only a handful at significant risk. Anna Keay, a respected historian, and director of the Landmark Trust, spoke about the significance of this restoration project.

She emphasized the need to safeguard these invaluable structures: "If we don't look after them and we don't decide that we want to keep them, then we will lose them." Keay highlighted the derelict watchtower's fragility, warning it could succumb to irreversible damage without intervention.

Restoring History: Ibsley's Watchtower Transformed

The Landmark Trust envisions Ibsley as a stunning four-bedroom holiday retreat with a first-floor kitchen and dining room offering panoramic views from the former control room.

The charity aims to revive the watchtower's original art deco design, conceived by acclaimed British architect Edward Luchins. By blending the spirit and aesthetic of the wartime era with modern touches, the transformed holiday home will serve as a testament to its historical roots.

The airfield at RAF Ibsley initially operated as a satellite station for RAF Middle Wallop but later gained independent status as a Fighter Command station. After its military use ceased in 1944, the airfield experienced a new lease of life in the 1950s as an automotive race track.

Today, it is the last complete building on the airport, eagerly awaiting its renaissance. Established in 1965, The Landmark Trust has long been at the forefront of building conservation in Britain. Its diverse portfolio includes forts, castles, cottages, and the former residences of eminent writers.

The restoration of RAF Ibsley's watchtower will be another triumph for this esteemed organization, ensuring the preservation of a significant piece of wartime heritage for future generations.