I recently found a bag of photographs that I thought were lost. Amongst the photographs were a few that I took in 2003 after a devastating fire swept across Fylingdales Moor. The fire burned off the peat deposits along with dense heather and bracken cover and in the process gave us a brief look at the prehistoric landscape that potentially exists beneath many of our moorlands.
The fire revealed a wealth of archaeology on the moor ranging from prehistory to the Second World War. If you are interested in finding out more I’d recommend seeking out Local Archaeologist Blaise Vyner’s excellent booklet, Fylingdales Wildfire and Archaeology. 2007. Published by North Yorkshire National Park.
During WWII Billingham was one of the sites chosen for the world’s first atomic weapons project codenamed Tube Alloys.
Development work for the top secret project took place at Billingham and a number of shadow factories in the Teesside area. Due to high costs, and the fact that Britain was within bombing range of its enemies, Tube Alloys was eventually absorbed into the USA’s Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the world’s first atomic weapons.
In the 1970’s ICI purchased and installed a TRIGA Mk1 nuclear reactor at Billingham. The reactor produced radioisotopes for industrial use until it was decommissioned in 1988.