Redcar sound mirror

The sound mirror at Redcar on the Yorkshire coast was built in about 1916, one of a number built on the northeast coast of England during the First World War.

These pictures were taken in December 2002.

[Picture of the Redcar sound mirror]
The acoustic early warning mirror at Redcar has a modern plaque explaining what it is. The base for the listening apparatus has survived, about four feet in front of the main structure.

[Picture of the Redcar sound mirror]
[Picture of the Redcar sound mirror]
The mirror is now surrounded by a modern housing estate.

[Plaque in front of the Redcar sound mirror]
A close up of the plaque. This reads:


This structure is a Sound Mirror or detector, built by the Royal Engineers in 1916. It was part of an extensive Zeppelin and enemy aircraft detection system deployed down the East Coast of Britain druring the First World War. Zeppelins raided the North East Coast 15 times between April 1915 and November 1917.

The sound of approaching aircraft was reflected off the concave ‘mirror’ surface and received into a trumpet mounted on a steel column.

The trumpet was connected to a stethoscope used by the operator or ‘listener’, and the part of the dish that produced the most sound indicated the direction of the approaching aircraft. Advanced warning of an imminent attack could then be given to local people.

By the early 1940’s sound detection technology was being replaced by ‘reflective detection finding’ now known as radar.

Photos from 1983


View Sound mirrors in a larger map

The mirror is in the middle of a modern housing estate between Redcar and Marske. You can park next to it, and it is very easy to visit, once you know where to look! The mirror is at the junction of Holyhead Drive and Greenstones Road.



News and updates about the Redcar acoustic mirror.

3 thoughts on “Redcar sound mirror

  1. Hi Andrew, I would like to try out a sound mirror by getting a friend to whisper in the distance and placing myself at the focal point. Can you suggest which sound mirror (in the Yorkshire/NE area) would be best for that please?
    Many thanks, Terry Collins

  2. @ Terry Collins

    You’ll need to do more than whisper, mate. These dishes focus sound, they don’t increase it. Pick one with a smooth surface, without pits and try a kazoo or some such.

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