We discovered the building for sale on Rightmove. It seemed like a good idea to investigate why the building was being offered and what it might present to us as the next step in our lives.
We are Jon and Shell Booty.
Jon comes from an RAF family and in fact lived here at the Station due to his Father serving here in 1978. Jon went on join the Army, bucking the family trend.
Shell, rather helpfully, is the daughter of a Painter and Decorator. Shell has a great eye for detail and a real love for balanced, especially art-deco, architecture.
We are both very aware of the wider duties that custodianship of a historic building demands. We hope we meet expectations in looking after this important part of Britain's Cold War history.
Viewing the building for the first time revealed several things.
The building had been very badly neglected, becoming a magnet for vandals. It would require a huge amount of work to prevent this Grade 2-listed building from becoming lost.
Under the shuttering, undergrowth and mould was a very beautiful structure.
We understood that this was an important piece of RAF history simply fading away and could be offered a very different future with a bit of imagination.
After a lengthy planning and conveyancing process, we took possession of the Tower and Fire Section in November 2016.
The early days were a whirlwind of damage control and stripping out, simply to reveal more damage to repair.
Early jobs involved asbestos removal, stripping out tonnes and tonnes of rotten dry lining, damaged stud walls, empty electrical trunking, lead pipework, broken doors and smashed glass.
These progressed to replacement of rainwater goods, clearing of drainage, stripping and rebuilding of the VCR, repair and reglazing of all 76 steel windows, replacement of the roofing, recasting the balcony, replacement of all external joinery and reinstatement of a water supply.
With the building watertight once more, the work of restoring the interior began.
Power was restored and gradually the building is becoming alive as we progress.
The ground floor and Fire Section are nearly done, leaving the upper floors to be sympathetically refurbished as living accommodation.
In another couple of years, we hope to have completed the living accommodation within the tower.
In parallel with this, the rest of the building is being presented in as faithful a way as possible.
The Tower has its own page on Facebook. Simply click the Facebook link for the latest news and updates on our progress.
In addition, we have other projects. These are detailed in links on the home page.