These are some pictures from a photographic workshop field trip organised by The Alfred East Gallery in Kettering to the remnants of RAF Harrington‘s nuclear launch pads (formerly Harrington had been home to the 8th Airforce’s Carpetbaggers operation in WWII).
The Museum is well worth a visit … I used the arts workshop as an opportunity to explore something of the airfield itself, (whilst possibly learning something about the employment of the camera) …
(the WWII war memorial)
Harrington was one of the bases selected for Project Emily, the deployment of the Thor intermediate range ballistic missile (Britain’s nuclear deterent). They were brought to full readiness during the Cuban Missile crisis. Harrington Museum has more information.
The base has now returned to farm land and dog walking, but the more sinister relics of her secret history lie crumbling in the landscape.
Playgrounds of War is photographer Gina Glover’s take on this material. It was illuminating for a blog snapper like me to explore the site with photography buffs and professionals. Most of their pictures were not at all like mine!
(the shot of the RAF test firing is not Harrington I should add)
Playgrounds of War is on at the Alfred East Gallery, Kettering, until 17th November.
The main runway is rough land between the cornfields, and is where the launch pads were sited when the base was converted over to the Thor programme.
What’s there, now?
Three concrete installations, each of a pair of blast shields either side of a track pointing East which used to accommodate a rolling hanger inside which the missile sat in readiness.
From an overcast start, it turned into a beautiful day for taking pictures.
The photographers were finding all sorts of detritus to zoom in on ..
(photographic field trip in full swing)
I later saw some of these truly startling and intense images in the afternoon’s gallery session. An eye-opener in the most literal sense.
(looking South from the middle installation)
Back towards the Western perimeter there are reinforced bays containing the warhead and electronics stores …
Meanwhile, I was being encouraged to get with the programme 🙂 …
I found this field trip well worth the time and effort. Not unlike a battlefield walk, but taken with a group which experiences the landscape in an entirely different way – just as fascinated by it as military historians … just not always by the same bits of it …