Pink Floyd have The Wall, we in Plymouth have a Wall. High on the hilltop at Staddon Heights, Jennycliffe, on the western arm of Plymouth`s great harbour- The Sound...the only place in the world where you can hear the sea and see the sound!!!...our Wall, my Wall, your Wall sits. As if it has been left behind by the same extrerterrestial beings that made the monolith in Arthur C. Clarkes "2001" it sits on it`s side. Black against the morning sunrise and golden with the sun`s evening rays on it. Is it art? It must be a sculpture...surely? It certainly is big. The correct origin is that it is the Butt for a smokeless powder rifle range constructed at the turn of the century. Many strollers on Plymouth Hoe look up at it and wonder. It is HUGE, it is many things, ugly, beautiful, kind or threatening..all depending on the lighting. On one of it`s structural parts is a wartime graffiti of a "V" sign in blue,( now lichen covered) as per Winston Churchill or perhaps Vera Lynn in Floyd`s Wall. We know it is original as it is a type of blue paint used extensively by the army in the 1940`s.
Originally the rifle range was a musket range and it was much further down on the cliff, almost at beach level. Today at a low tide , after a storm it is still possible to find the odd musket ball among the rocks..this link will show you exactly where. Mount Batten is in the background. The range had to move to a site with a bigger safety area as the .303 was introduced with an increased range. Be careful not to get your hands stuck under the rocks...as the tide will come in!
In front of the Wall is a golf course, this has been built on the old rifle range,
while behind the Wall is the remains of a Barrage Balloon base. These balloons would have helped build a floating "wall" in the
air to protect Plymouth from air raids in the 1940`s. The anchor points being set in the middle and around the outside rim,
also close by is a still water tight Static Water Tank. Overlooking
the Sound is an Observation Position that now looks down on weekend
sailors and no more searches for the enemy that never came, while divers now spend study
leave at Fort Bovisand.
is a large fortification guarding both the sea and land approaches to the area. A big
thankyou to the MOD for arranging my visit and guiding me through my tour. Entry is via a large wooden door with murder slits above it...this is a slit to pour
nasties, hot oil etc on enemies...or even to shoot them through. This feature is more
usually found on medieval fortifications and castles. Within the fort
is covered accomodation that once would have housed troops, in World War II, anti-aircraft
positions were built onto the expense magazines above. The whole area is landscaped
for practical reasons, the earhworks being excellent at absorbing
harmlessly incoming fire. Inside one of the blocks is a wooden screened
bath...a bath in a box!! and a solid fuelled boiler system that
comes from Jules Verne!!
Deep within the fort`s bowels are the remains of the small arms store. On the walls remain wooden retaining blocks for rifles, coat hooks, and shelving. For anyone attempting an architectural reconstruction, these details are valuable. One of the rooms off this area is full of decomposing old shooting targets. Some are of a soldier peeping over a trench, the others are a crouching rifleman or a soldier mounted on a horse. Also there is a mummified DEAD CAT, how did this happen I wonder?
Around the perimeter of the fort is a covered way, now in a way looking and feeling very romantic, with the sunlight filtering in and the wind blowing through.
While these barrage ballons were defending the city of Plymouth from the Lufwaffe, ordinary citizens would be sheltering in either large underground air raid shelters, such as this one deep below this mound at Marlborough Street, Devonport, Plymouth (see links below), or in the family Anderson Shelter at the bottom of the garden. This example is covered in concrete rather than earth, although in wartime it still probably would have had an earth topping. This one here is right out of the film "When The Wind Blows" to which Roger Waters wrote the music score.
PLYMOUTH`S NUCLEAR BUKER is now disused and has been up for sale, possible use
being a mushroom farm. It is built within the gatehouse of Fort Austin, this fort being
one of the many forming part of Plymouth`s defences in the 1860`s. Would it have worked? I
think not; as it is today when it rains, it leaks....that about says it all. Inside the
small but still main entrance is the red button that would have
alerted the bunkers staff to any impeding attack. There is also a red
phone forming no doubt the hottest of hotlines! The leaking roof that today turns the
control room into a sauna is so bad that all the maps and notices on the wall had to be covered in plastic sheeting to stop them getting waterlogged....so
much for radiation and fall-out protection. Notice the air ducting system in the ceiling.
Air was sucked in from the outside and filtered by a series of pumps,
seen here in close-up. So if you like this place, have a lot of
money to spare...see your estate agent.
I was lucky enough to get to the Pink Floyd concerts at Earl`s Court in London on Friday May 18th 1973. What can I say? When I went my original plan was to scive off work on a sickie, but later I decided to take a days leave..which was just as well as my boss was on the same train to London as me...that could have been rather embarassing. First of all, here is the cover of the concert programme, and the illustrated pages within: Page1.....2,.....3......4......5.....6.....7.....8........Good are`nt they. Here is a scan of my ticket, it only cost £2.00, and that was a good seat.
If you like these and would like a better scan , just send me an e-mail and I`ll see you get one.
Next we have some scans of press clippings about these gigs, they make interesting reading.....1....2....3.....
Then here we have some actual concert photos. This one shows the hoarding on the front of Earl`s Court, this one shows the stage exploding during the scream bit in Careful with that Axe Eugene, while this one shows a cascade of dry ice during Echoes.
These other ones were taken during the rest of the concert, which featured also,
Obscured by Clouds, When You`re In, Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun, Dark Side
of the Moon, One of these Days. Photo 1...2.....3....4.....5....6 showing an early Mr. Ball.......
When I bought the LP Dark Side of the Moon..what an old term, on vinyl, in pre CD days, there were two stickers inside that many of you may have lost...well here they are.....light blue.......dark blue...
Or you may like this: a scan of the leaflet insert cover artwork for a 1972 RoIO on
blue vinyl....an "LP" of Pink Floyd`s "Omayyad"...rare
and very simple.
Perhaps even rarer are these posters and artworks publising non Floyd gigs at Plymouth`s (which was to become world famous) Van Dike Club where many famous rock legends played before they hit the big time. The Pink Floyd played here too. artwork.....poster1....2.....3......4......5. These posters were found stuck as decor on some sleeves of old black vinyl LP`s, they have also been doodled on in true 70`s style! The image on poster one is a true reflection of the era, be it good or bad.
The last image on this page is the most important....lest we forget ......Only by learning from the past can we make a better future.
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