The Brixham Military Museum Started in 1994/95
The Brixham Military Museum Started in 1994
The idea of using the A.T.S hut as a museum was in 1994 when Mike Ford came across the disused Hut ,being
used by Torbay council workers to store there tools . The Hut was in a bad state of repair and grounds were over grown.
In early 1995 Mike set up along with Rod Hart, Sue Sleep and Carole Hart a small group, trying to raise awareness of the site.
Rod Hart -Chairman, Mike Ford -Vice Chairman, Sue Sleep -Secretary, Carole Hart - Treasurer
Meetings were held between these members at the Redcliff Hotel Paignton and the Weary Ploughman Churston. The first fund raising was when the four members along with friends attended local schools where they did talks and displays on WW11, The first ever donation was £20 from Sacred Heart school Paignton in 1995
In October 1995, The group meet at the battery site with two councillors, Mike Morey and Vic Ellery, where discussions were held with Mike and Rod
The project was officially called The South Devon Forces Museum Project
Mike and Rod continued to meet with council members and also arranged and met with the museum commission, who came from their headquarters in Taunton to visit the site.
During this time Ex Home Guard Ron Coleman Was working on trying to save the Battery Gardens site and published his own book about the battery,
Ron meet Mike while walking in the Battery gardens one day and they spoke about the project .Later Ron contacted Mike Ford, and after a discussion with Ron and another Ex Home Guard Len Tucker. Ron and Len both joined our original group and the fight was on
Nov1995 site meeting in A T S Hut with Roger Mann of TBC who made very positive comments. but progress was very slow with even more phone calls and meetings.
Aug 8th 1996 we had a planning meeting with Miss Addison of TBC,where with various reports ,plans and the TBC legal dept we discussed a lease for the ATS hut to use as a museum. 'by this time we had been loaned the keys so we could make it known our proposals for the interior layout of our proposed museum'
Aug 19th 1996 Vic Ellery reported back, to the group, that as the ATS Hut roof was Asbestos, he was waiting for a report from TBC leisure and Amenities depart
Aug 21st 1996 Councillor Pudner also got involved with helping the group. he phoned Mr Bryant TBC for a envillmental check to be carried out
Sept 1996 Mr Bryant told Vic Ellery that all was ok ,so passed on to the leisure and Amenities dept,that we should have permission to go a head..
Sept 22nd 1996 TBC confirmed they would clear all the walls of rubbish, but no trees would be cut back
Sept 1996 Mike fords group again met with TBC and agree on a possible 5 year lease subject to the OK from the amenities committee, there would be a grant of £500 from TBC
During this time and before the lease was signed ,the old Asbestos roof was taken off by TBC (Thanks to Tony Garrets intervention ) They wavered their fee, of £2000 They also left the scaffolding up for us and provided all the sliver
roof felt needed.
Mike ford, Rod Hart, Sue Sleep and Carole Hart along with other volunteers fitted the new galvanised roof sheets ,(which Mike managed to get from a building that was being torn down.)
Nov 20th 1996 The Leisure and Amenities committee meet and agreed to support the 'Battery Project'
Things still move very slowly even with the lease terms ready to be agreed between our group and TBC
Brixham Battery Heritage Group 22nd April 1997
The Brixham Battery Heritage Group was named on April 22nd 1997. The proposel of the terms and conditions of our first five year lease where recieved by Mike Ford
Ron Coleman. Len Tucker, Mike Ford and Robbie Robbinson. Continued to raise funds and members ,Joining Them in the group were Harry Moore,Ivan Parton and Fred Sayer.Phil Trayhorn to name just a few....
Our First committee in 1999 as BBHG
Robbie Robbinson =Chairman, Phil Trayhorn = Vice Chairman, Ron Coleman = Secretary, Bill Loader = Treasurer. also Edger Lawrence,Mrs Pat Lowe and Norman Golding
On March 30th 2002 (Easter Saturday) Councillor Bob Pudner Mayor of Torquay Cut the tape to officaily open our centre
a miniature cannon was fired and Bob took the baton to start the 6 piece brass band
we were now declared open
Phil Trayhorn took over as Chairman and carried on in the post for 11 years.
Phil successfully got us the lottery heritage grant of £50,000 to allow us to build our Education centre
All the hard work paid off with the site being given English Heritage Status
The Rest,as they say is History..
We are a group of volunteers helping to restore the Brixham coastal defence
battery built in 1940, and provide on-site information to the general public and other organisations. The group uses the Artillery Training Section (ATS) hut as its education centre and museum after having secured a long lease from Torbay council.
The dedicated group helps to maintain and restore the grounds of Brixham Battery. This includes The ATS building, War Shelter, Ammunition Tunnels, Generator Rooms, Gun Emplacements, Battery Observation Post (B.O.P) ,Pill Box and other structures around the site. As well as maintaining the Museum and grounds we educate schools and the general public about the history and operation of the site during WWII.
Until his passing in Feb 2006 the group was Proud to have a veteran sergeant, Mr Ron Coleman, who manned the Battery with others during the second world war; as their Secretary.
The group has members of all ages. There are always projects and work to be done at the centre, from helping restore the war shelter and ammunition tunnels right up to helping out in the museum.
As a registered charity, the Heritage Group has been generously awarded various grants and relies heavily on donations from visitors. Another way of receiving funds is through organised school visits and also visiting other heritage sites where we produce WWII displays.
The site you see today is now.
The Brixham Battery Heritage Centre which was founded in 1999, and became a Registered Charity (no 1082171) in that year
But none of this would have happened if it wasnt for the dedication of Mike Ford along with Rod Hart, Sue Sleep ,Carole Hart and joined by Ron Coleman . They are the true founders of our orignal Group.