The sound mirrors – and this website – got a mention in the Observer’s travel section on 5 April 2009. The piece formed part of the Military sites” category in a series about Secret Britain – “All around us lie overgrown and forgotten sites with fascinating stories to tell, says Iain Sinclair”.
Acoustic mirrors, various locations
In the middle of a field in Kilnsea, Yorkshire there is a 15-foot-high concave concrete structure resembling a satellite dish. It’s actually an acoustic (or sound) mirror, used during the first world war to detect enemy engine sounds. They are a common fixture along the British coast, including at Kilnsea (OS map ref: TA 411167), Hythe in Kent (OS map ref: TR138344) and Denge on the Dungeness peninsula (OS map ref: TR070215), which recently featured in the new Prodigy music video, Invaders Must Die.
Julian Hanshaw won the 2008 Observer/Cape Graphic Short Story Prize with Sand Dunes and Sonic Booms, described by the Observer as a “haunting, evocative and beautifully drawn story”. It is set on the south coast, and at the Denge mirrors in particular.
We loved Hanshaw’s sense of time and place – an effect he achieved partly through a series of sepia frames illustrating the south coast. Hanshaw is an animator by training, and moved to Winchelsea, East Sussex from London three years ago. Since then he has become ‘mildly obsessed’ with the area, particularly the spectral and strange Dungeness. The idea for ‘Sand Dunes and Sonic Booms’ came after a visit to one of the south coast’s sound mirrors – primitive devices designed to detect and track military aircraft before the First World War (though the ones in Kent date from the 1930s).
Source: The Observer 2009-11-09
You can read the story here: Sand Dunes & Sonic Booms.