Pillbox gets a makeover

Somerset County Gazette: James Evers, left, and builder Pat Taylor with the restored pillbox. James Evers, left, and builder Pat Taylor with the restored pillbox.

A World War Two pillbox in a Roadwater garden has been restored to its former glory, disguised to look like a garden building.

The pillbox, part of a network of defences hastily built all over the British Isles to prevent an anticipated German invasion, sits at the entrance to the home of James and Jeannette Evers, of Vale House, in the village.

Mrs Evers said: "We don't use it for anything, but it's lovely to have it restored."

Jessica Turner, conservation archaeology advisor with Exmoor National Park Authority said: "The pillbox is remarkable because it was originally disguised as a small garden building with a pitched shingle roof and painted windows.

"In design it appears to be type 24 pillbox, one of the most commonly constructed in the South-West."

She said the irregular brick built five-sided pillbox could have garrisoned eight men and formed part of the North Somerset inland defence.

She added: "Other examples were built or adapted to resemble bus shelters, signal boxes and seaside kiosks.

"It was quite a difficult undertaking to fix a rectangular pitched roof to an irregular shape, but we are delighted that the work is now complete and the pillbox has been restored to its disguised glory."

She said the pillbox was selected for preservation by English Heritage in 2002 because of the importance of its surviving wooden roof, but the structure decayed beyond repair and had to be removed.

The conservation building work was carried out by Steve Cornish of P.J Taylor builders.

Mr Taylor's father was a sergeant in the Home Guard and used the pillbox during the war.

It is estimated that less than 6,000 of a total of 28,000 pillboxes built during the war survive.

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