Situated just inland from the North Norfolk coast, is a small building with a huge story. Nestled on the edge of former RAF Langham, from the outside Langham Dome appears to be nothing more than a bizarre dome shaped building. Step inside however, and you’ll find yourself totally immersed in one of the more unique stories of the Second World War.
Starting as little more than a grass strip, due to its proximity to The North Sea and northern Europe, RAF Langham played an important role in Britain’s air strategy to defeat the enemy during the war. Langham Dome, originally built in 1942/3, formed a key defensive part of this overall strategy. Using state of the art technology, the facility trained the nation’s anti-aircraft gunners for their critical role in protecting the nation’s skies. By projecting images of enemy aircraft onto the interior of the Dome, coupled with realistic battle noises, it gave trainee gunners the chance to practice ‘shooting’ down enemy aircraft in a fully immersive training experience, in an age before digital technology.
Opened for visitors in 2014 after a period of painstaking renovation, the exhibition at Langham Dome gives you the opportunity to travel back into this truly fascinating world. The story of the facility and those who served and lived at RAF Langham is brought to life by the information panels that line the walls, and by the short films on display, narrated by none other than Stephen Fry. With period uniforms for kids to try on, and a Morse code machine to test out, there’s something for all ages. There’s even the opportunity to use the building for its original purpose, testing your aim on the museum’s trainer gun against ‘enemy’ aircraft projected onto the Dome’s wall. Come along and experience all of this and more at the upcoming Open House event and talk on Thursday 12th May.
Langham Dome will also play host to an illustrated talk on the preparation of North Norfolk’s defences against the threat of invasion during 1940. Delivered by Norfolk based author and journalist Steve Snelling, the pre-bookable event promises to give a fascinating insight into the measures taken in the area against an enemy that never came.
With so much to see, do and hear at the Dome this spring, be sure to come along and experience the truly fascinating story of this iconic building, itself a Scheduled Ancient Monument. But make sure you allow plenty of time for your visit, there’s a lot more to experience at Langham Dome than at first meets the eye.