Manor Farm Paddock is immediately west of manor farm, north of the A30. This small field has some unusual blocks of concrete in it, and an old air photograph suggested that there was some kind of structure here during the First World War.
Manor Farm Paddock was one of the places we wanted to investigate during our ‘Dig for History’ community archaeology event with Chalke Valley History Festival in 2016. Vegetation and topsoil in the area around the concrete blocks was cleared back to show much more concrete!
Although quite puzzling at first, we think that it used to be an electricity generating station for the camps centred on Manor Farm. There are two sets of parallel footings, each of which would have supported an engine with a flywheel, connected by a belt to an electric generator. The footings include metal studs – now bent over – on to which the engines and generators would have fitted.
We also found the footings for pillars, which would probably have supported a metal-framed shed over the equipment. We are not sure if the engines were powered by steam or by internal combustion using oil, but we think probably oil. We presume that the equipment and the shed were all removed at the end of the First World War, leaving just the concrete behind.