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Historic and unusual listed WWII pillbox in upgrade plan

A SCHEME to preserve an historic and unusual Second World War defensive feature which may have been disguised to look like a garden folly will come before Anglesey planners.

Listed building consent is being sought to carry out alterations and repairs at the Skinner’s Monument Pillbox at Holyhead.

Dated circa 1940 the Grade II Listed Building is described as an “unusual example” of this type of fortification.

The design is believed to be only one of its kind on the island.

Plans to alter and repair the historic feature will be considered by Anglesey County Council’s planning and orders committee on Wednesday,  January 11.

The circular structure is located on a hilly patch of scrubland but is now surrounded by modern housing.

It would have looked out towards the sea and Holyhead Port.

The solid structure takes its name from the nearby stone obelisk memorial known as Skinner’s Monument.

The plans describe how pillboxes were quickly constructed during the Second World War to provide coastal defences in case of a full-scale invasion of mainland Britain.

They provided a safe look out  and a protected place where weapons could be fired through narrow slitted windows.

Due to the urgency of their construction, and the scale of work  across the country during the War, stocks of cement and other building materials were soon depleted.

This resulted in local materials and some unique designs being adopted.

It was this “…vernacular architecture”  of pillboxes that contributed “…greatly to their significance,” the application heritage impact report report reads.

“At the Skinners Monument Pillbox the roofed primary area has been given a castellated appearance.

“This may have been carried out to disguise the pillbox as a Victorian folly, this design is unique to Holy Island.”

The building, is described as being made up of grey rubble with some brick on concrete foundations.

Its wall head has rubble set on end, giving the effect of being a folly or garden architecture.

It has a square-headed doorway, two tiers of loops, and a concrete roof and a detached curving screen wall to protect the entrance.

The planning application has been submitted by Efan Milner for Anglesey County Council,through the agent Pieter Jacobs,  of the Ramboll company.

The plans call for repairs which include fixing cracks and loose render, repointing and re-rendering in lime mortar.

Missing stones would also be replaced and the work would include waterproofing, drainage, concrete repairs, including to the structure’s top slab.

A new crushed stone path in local stone is also proposed as currently there is currently no access  to the structure.

The nearby Skinner’s Monument, close to the Pillbox celebrates a  Holyhead character the American -born sea Captain John Macgregor Skinner, who died at sea in 1832.