Our History

Follow our journey from the development of the base at Neatishead in 1941 to its current operation.

  • 1930s

    Birth of Radar

    The history of radar (standing for Radio Detection And Ranging) started with experiments by Heinrich Hertz in the late 19th century that showed that radio waves were reflected by metallic objects.

  • 1941

    Ground Control Intercept

    In 1941, the Air Ministry surveyed a piece of land not far from the Broads at Horning in Norfolk with a view to establishing a site to host a brand new Air Defence station, a Ground Control Intercept station to be exact, from where Fighter Controllers, backed up by a wide range of support staff, could direct RAF fighters, day or night, to attack enemy aircraft from Germany as they launched raids against Military and Industrial targets in Norfolk as well as against the City of Norwich itself.


  • 1945

    End of the Second World War

    At the end of the Second World War in 1945 the world entered seamlessly into a new conflict that was to last 45 years – the ‘Cold War’.  As the defences for the United Kingdom were reorganised with fewer but more advanced radars to meet the new Soviet air threat, RAF Neatishead continued to play an increasingly important role in the nation’s air defence.

  • 1974

    Sector Operations Centre (SOC)

    In 1974 Neatishead once again became fully operational as a Sector Operations Centre (SOC) and as a Control & Reporting Centre (CRC).  Operating from the old ‘Happidrome’ building, but with a new standalone computerised command and control system (Standby Local Early Warning & Control System) the unit became a key element of the UK Air Defence Ground Environment.


  • 1993

    Post Cold War

    1993, the R3 underground bunker once again became operational after a complete refit with a fully Integrated Command & Control System. This system incorporated ultra-fast and secure communications with E3 surveillance aircraft and maritime units and new remote mobile radars.


    Neatishead Today

    Today, the aim of the base at Neatishead is to “to provide radar, ground-to-air radio and data links coverage as part of the UK Air Surveillance And Control System (ASACS), in support of national and NATO air defence.


All Enquiries

For all enquiries regarding tickets, group bookings, and all other general enquiries, please contact Reception staff on:

01692 631485

Donations, collection enquiries

For all enquiries related to donations, collection enquiries,
please contact the Manager


Telephone (during opening times)
01692 631485