The Unblinking Eye

55 Years of Space Operations on Fylingdales Moor.

Michael Mulvihill


The Whitby Museum at Pannett Park is one of my favourite places to spend a couple of  hours so when I saw a flyer for this exhibition I headed over the moors at the first opportunity.

The two nice ladies at the desk said to me ‘it’s probably not what you were expecting, it’s an artists response to the Fylingdales site.’


The exhibition is the result of Michael Mulvihill’s three years of exploring the objects in the sites archive and the history of RAF Fylingdales.  I enjoyed the exhibition, if you go I would recommend that you read the accompanying booklet, which is excellent.


The exhibition runs from the 3rd of August to the 3rd of November. There is also a public program of events which can be found here 

Two Minutes to Midnight – Richard Clay explores why we are no longer afraid of nuclear annihilation, and whether we should be.

On reflection, the objects on display will have a different meaning depending on your own personal experience. I was born in the 1960s, there was a civil defence siren located on the perimeter of my primary school playground, the four minute warning and the Doomsday Clock were ever-present in our lives. The threat of a nuclear attack was a very real one, the RAF Fylingdales early warning station was a constant reminder of this.


The Hand of Glory

When I was young summer holidays were generally camping trips to the Lake District or ‘days out’. Days out were day trips to the seaside of the moors. The most popular local seaside destinations for the children of Middlesbrough were Redcar, Saltburn and Whitby.

Each seaside town had its own particular draw, Redcar had gaming arcades and a cinema, Saltburn had a cliff lift and rock pools, Whitby, my favourite, had Dracula, the 99 steps and The Hand of Glory.

The Hand was, and still is, kept in a display cabinet in the Whitby Museum at Pannett Park. The museum remains one of my favourite places. It’s a lovely place that rejects the need for modern push-button interactivity and focuses on stimulating our natural curiosity by presenting us with strange, beautiful, bizarre and exotic objects.

The Museum also houses one the best collection of marine fossils outside of the Natural History Museum in London.



For further reading on the Hand of Glory I’d recommend a two-part essay  by Robin Wilson entitled A Blaze of Glory published in the excellent quarterly magazine Northern Earth  (issues 140 & 141).

The Whitby Museum can be found here  and includes a page on the Hand Of Glory