Popular beat combos at the Denge sound mirrors

Rock Atlas book front cover

The Denge sound mirrors have proved to be a popular location for music videos and associated photo shoots, and are included in a new book called Rock Atlas, by David Roberts.

The author has got in touch to tell me that: The 304-page, full-colour guide book includes 689 fascinating British and Irish music locations and the stories behind them. Written and researched by former Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums editor David Roberts, the book provides instructions on how to find each place of Rock and Pop pilgrimage, plus extensive lists of the birthplaces of every major musician.

The sound mirrors entry says:

The Dungeness coastal landscape is shaped by the strange architectural splendour of the sound mirrors that are featured as cover artwork on Turin Brakes’ Ether Song album and hit single ‘Long Distance’. Constructed as a Royal Air Force early warning system for incoming aircraft, the Denge mirrors are often referred to as ‘Listening Ears’ and have also featured in The Prodigy video for ‘Invaders Must Die’ and Blank & Jones‘ Monument album cover and video for ‘A Forest’.

LOCATION 147: between Lydd-on-Sea and Greatstone-on-Sea. Postcode: TN29 9NL. Access with guided walks. www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/soundmirrors

2011 guided walks to the Denge sound mirrors

Planned dates for public access to the Denge sound mirrors in 2011 have been announced on the Notice Board section of the Romney Marsh Countryside Project website.

There is one open day this year, and two guided walks. These events don’t need to be booked and are free, but rely on donations to cover the costs with at least £2 per person suggested.

  • Open day 10:00-17:00 Sunday 24 July 2011
  • Guided walk 14:00 Sunday 21 August 2011
  • Guided walk 14:00 Sunday 11 September 2011

More information at the RMCP website. Anyone planning to attend these events should obviously confirm details with the RMCP before travelling.

Remember, the RMCP events are the only way to visit the Denge mirrors. The walks are very popular, and well worth doing.

Listing campaign in 1993

“Listing of sound mirrors urged: Oliver Gillie reports on the pre-radar detection devices that enthusiasts want to see preserved” from the Independent on 3 July 1993.

HUGE CONCRETE sound mirrors used before the days of radar to listen for the approach of hostile aircraft should be scheduled as national monuments, according to enthusiasts. Already several have been demolished …

Photos of 2004 Denge sound mirror guided walk

Hywel Williams took some photographs on a guided walk to the Denge sound mirrors on 4 August 2004: Denge Sound Mirrors – “The Listening Ears”.

I could hear the little steam train pass across in front of me off the sound mirror, GREATLY magnified in sound and apparently in the mirror direction it was traveling. Clearly not a demonstration of aeroplane detection, but also a clear demonstration that these concrete mirrors still work, nearly 80 years after their experimental construction!

Ooo, I’m in one of the photos!

Hywel also has a rather good site about Disused stations on London’s Underground.

Conservation techniques and the Denge sound mirrors

… One of the largest projects funded by the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund and managed by English Heritage was concerned with stabilizing these structures and undertaking research into their repair.

This paper aims to outline the conservation approach to the project and to detail the concrete repair techniques trialled. It also highlights some pointers for the repair of twentieth-century concrete based on the advice of a master mason and a concrete repair contractor. Finally, the long-term monitoring that is in place for the carbonation inhibitors and cathodic protection systems that are installed on these structures are detailed.

The Listening Mirrors – A Conservation Approach to Concrete Repair Techniques by Alan Wright and Peter Kendall. Journal of Architectural Conservation, Volume 14, Issue 1, March 2008