Isle of Wight History Centre - REPORT July 2019

The Corrupting of Evidence by Historic England and
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport

We have come to expect there will be occasional scandals surrounding inappropriate activities in national institutions and government departments. Most people would probably imagine the high-minded departments dealing with the nation's heritage would be above suspicion. However, it seems even they will resort to malpractice when confronted with an awkward situation.

engine house
The engine house

Such was the case with a Grade II listed engine house on Browns miniature golf course at Sandown, Isle of Wight. During the war, the location had been one of the areas selected as part of the Pipeline Under the Ocean project (PLUTO) to pump fuel under Channel in support of the Allied invasion. The listing was based on an assumption the two Ruston diesel engines in the engine house on the golf course were installed as an integral part of the system of powering the pumps and therefore part of the vital PLUTO operation.

If fact the engines and their generators had a less glamorous past. They had been established by Browns golf course itself to power a range of catering and industrial facilities in the 1930s, before mains power had been available to the site. It continued to provide the club's power into the postwar period. This origin had been largely forgotten, although still recalled by a some Sandown residents. It had absolutely nothing to do with the PLUTO operation and there is no record of it having done so.

The listing was established in 2006. By 2017 some historians had realised the listing was in error and a delist application was entered.

Delisting a property may occasionally highlight disappointment from a trusting public but nothing that cannot normally be accommodated. Events surrounding the engine house were on a different scale. The intervening years had seen its claimed role in the Allied invasion become an integral part of Sandown's culture. Encouragement and support for its renovation had come from the Isle of Wight council, a heritage grant, local historians, engineers and numerous volunteer enthusiasts. Much expertise had been expounded in promoting the cause. Years of extensive press and TV coverage had encouraged crowd funding and practical support from the general public.

In order to avoid widespread embarrassment, including their own, Historic England decided to reject the delist application. Unfortunately they could only do so by ignoring its evidence. It was a planned deception.

Browns Golf Course and its power source

Browns miniature golf course was established by Alexander Kennedy on a five acre site in 1932. The site was at a relatively remote location at the eastern end of Sandown's Culver Parade, without any utility services.

The nine hole pitch and putt and three small putting greens were designed as a leisure attraction for the general public. In 1933 a further ten acres was acquired and the pitch and putt course was extended to a more demanding fourteen holes. Both occasions were launched with national publicity, supported by the famous British Open Champion, Henry Cotton. A modest club house had been erected. In 1934 further land acquisition saw the pitch and putt course extended to eighteen holes.

The lack of mains power supply in the area inhibited Browns' ambitions for development. Accordingly, in 1936, they built an engine house on the north west edge of the green to generate DC power. This allowed them to provide cafe facilities in a new larger club house, a pump house for the greens and external display features. It also enabled them to develop an ice cream factory, signalling an interest in the catering side of their business.

By 1939 the Browns location had become less remote when the Grand Hotel and extended amusement facilities were established at either end of Culver Parade. These developments had brought mains electricity to the area. However, Browns stayed with the engine house as their power source.

The outbreak of war in 1939 brought an enforced closure for Browns when Culver Parade was closed to the public. The company retained a single caretaker on the site throughout the war.

In 1944 the Pipeline Under the Ocean (PLUTO) project selected Sandown's north east seafront as one of the sites to locate pumps that delivered fuel under the Channel in support of the Allied invasion. The PLUTO authorities cordoned off a requisitioning section of land which included the old fort, Grand Hotel, canoe lake and much of Browns. Properties within the requisitioned area were occupied to house pumps and ancillary operations. The secured area did not extend to the engine house, which remained on non-requisitioned land.

Immediately after the war Browns acquired the neighbouring canoe lake and developed a cafe on the site. Much work was involved in re-turfing the greens and they reopened their full facilities for the summer season of 1947.

In 1948 they reconstructed the canoe lake bakery. Like their ice cream, their cream doughnuts would become a renowned local treat. By the 1950s Culver Parade was busy tourist area and Browns golf course, canoe lake and catering facilities were much loved features for tourists and locals alike.

The engine house continued to power their facilities into the postwar period. There is conflicting evidence from residents as to whether Browns converted to mains power at the end of the 1950s or later in the 1960s.

Sausages and Golf by Dave Bambrough
The National Archives
Local recollections

The Original Grade II listing - 2006

The listing was granted on the basis the engines and generators in the engine house were installed in 1944, exclusively to power the PLUTO pumps and only operated for the brief period of the PLUTO project. The important heritage factor lay in its claimed part in the vital wartime project.

At the heart of this issue is how such a misplaced listing could be arrived at in the first place. By 2006 the engine house and its machinery were still in place but virtually derelict. It is unclear who proposed the listing to HE but the idea that the machinery was associated with the PLUTO operation seems to have arisen purely because the engine house was in the same general vicinity.

Once HE had determined the concept as factual, speculation was developed to fit the predetermined case. An HE advisor surveyed the site and claimed a number of elements within its structure demonstrated military involvement, although no comparison was made with similar installations elsewhere. This physical assessment of the site effectively constituted the sole basis for the listing. It was inevitable that no records would exist to support the claim.

Part of HE's misinterpretation was due to a failure to carry out proper research into the PLUTO operation. This left them with little understanding of how the different types of pumps were powered. They declared the engine house was the power source for all 16 Sandown pumps, unaware all bar two were reciprocating pumps, thus not electrically powered, and the two that were called for huge mains power to drive their motors. Had HE understood the technology, they would have realised their concept was technically impossible.

They also misinterpreted the layout of the operation at Sandown, which left the engine house well outside the wired security perimeter of the PLUTO operation, on non-requisitioned land within regular public access.

PLUTO involved the requisition of properties to house the pumps and ancillary facilities. The authorities were duty bound to follow the wartime practice of removing all such machinery and equipment after PLUTO and returning the properties to their owners in their original state. HE noted that it was highly unusual that such machinery still remained on private property but never considered this might question their case.

An examination of the engine house electrics switchboard would have seen the labelling: 20HP PUMP, RIVER PUMP, CLUB HOUSE, CLUB HOUSE, EQUALISER SWITCH. This would have raised a question in most people's minds as to whether the installation might have something to do with the golf club who owned the property. It is a mystery why HE never bothered to investigate Browns' operations. Had they done so, it would have probably only taken a few local enquiries to reveal the existing engine house installation was powering Browns' catering and industrial facilities well into living memory, with knowledgeable local claims the same plant was also doing so before the war.

Their brief comment on the history of the engine house was also misplaced. They assumed past reference to the 'pavilion' referred to the engine house, whereas it was the term applied to the club house, as was the frequent practice at golf clubs. The present day habit of referring the engine house as the 'pavilion' is a misnomer that may have originated with the listing.

The delist application

In 2017 a local historian was researching the Island's PLUTO involvement at The National Archives. In spite of the comprehensive details available on all aspects of the project, he noted that there was no reference anywhere to an alternative power facility for the mains powered centrifugal pumps at Sandown or for the same PLUTO pumps at Shankin and Dungeness. There were also a number of other records that contradicted the listing. PLUTO records also noted that Browns generated their own power supply.

Local enquiries revealed that Browns would have had no choice but to generate their own power and this clearly explained the engine house. Browns themselves appeared to lack any archives but there was sufficient evidence to justify a delist application, not least because the plant had still been operating within living memory. The delist application was entered in 2017.

Evidence supporting the delist case was as follows.

The engine house switchboard identifies Browns' facilities

An unsolicited report from a Sandown resident who had visited the engine house on several occasions in the 1960s, when it was still in operation. He detailed how the current plant was powering Browns' club house cafe, canoe lake cafe and ice cream factory, also stating that the same plant had done so before the war.

From The National Archives:

An official document stating that Browns was generating its own power prior to PLUTO.

PLUTO records showing Browns' club house cafe and ice cream factory existed before the war, thus being powered by the engine house.

An engineers report on PLUTO detailing the huge power requirements of the Mather and Platt centrifugal pumps that clearly exceeded the DC output of the engine house.

Details of the PLUTO policy of building internal bomb blast protection within requisitioned buildings, no evidence of which exists in the engine house.

Stated PLUTO practice that specifically ruled out the building of any new structures or external adaptations to requisitioned buildings during the Sandown operation (the listing claims the structure was built in 1944 to house the engines).

Also provided was a link to a website containing National Archives sourced details of general PLUTO operations. This stated that American Caterpillar diesel engines were used throughout the project (no mention of Ruston engines) and the mains power supply to Sandown and Shanklin sites was via dedicated power lines (emphasising the level of power required).

The refusal to delist

Given that HE's only basis for the listing was speculation that the building's structure appeared to have a military involvement, the documented delist evidence to the contrary should have been overwhelming. But there was a problem.

Since 2006, the listing had been taken at face value by enthusiasts and an entire culture had developed around the engine house and the vitally important part it had apparently played in the PLUTO operation. A heritage grant had been awarded for its renovation. The council had granted listed building consent for the work. They had also promoted crowd funding for additional finance. Some local historians had developed suppositions to enhance the story, publishing work and giving talks on the subject. A technical expertise had developed around the plant. There had been years of extensive publicity in the media, including TV coverage.

Clearly numerous reputations were at stake and delisting would result in much embarrassment all round, not least for HE, having generated the entire misplaced culture through an all too casual listing.

Accordingly HE decided to reject the delist case, irrespective of the evidence.

It was not possible to dispute the delist evidence, so it was simply ignored. A consultation report was issued which varied little from the original listing, with no reference at all to delist evidence. Following a complaint, the listing team leader, Veronica Fiorato, claimed it was the usual practice to ignore delist evidence in consultation reports, with no suggestion it was improper for the report's author, Simon Hawkins, to include statements he knew to be untrue. She claimed their final advice would contain the delist evidence denied to those consulted.

In fact, in refusing the delist application, the final advice followed the same pattern as the consultation report. There was no direct reference to any delist evidence. Mr Hawkins misleads the reader by claiming the delist complaint is just that the listing was 'tenuous' and 'overstates' its case, withholding any clear advice that the delist case provides evidence for an entirely different explanation for the plant. By refusing to directly address any of the delist evidence, HE leave themselves free from having to dispute it. As with the original listing, their final advice relied entirely on contrived speculation.

It seems unlikely the withholding of primary source evidence would be attempted by Mr Hawkins on his own accord. Given Ms Fiorato's involvement in the case, it was almost certainly a policy decision.

Following receipt of HE's rejection of the delist application, the delist team requested a review by DCMS. Their ground for complaint was the method of HE's rejection could not be put down to incompetence but was a planned deception to save reputations. It was a serious accusation and clearly one a partner organisation would find it difficult to entertain. It was nevertheless the only option available.

The DCMS Review

The DCMS review process involved both parties being invited to make their case. This process was completed in February 2018. DCMS held back publication of their conclusions until January 2019.

In the preamble to their review conclusions, DCMS make it clear that they were not prepared to even consider any question that HE acted inappropriately. They claimed that, like DCMS themselves, HE's impartiality was beyond reproach. The net result was that rejection of the delist claim was predetermined by the kind of haughty elitism that would have been out of place decades ago. The evidence was irrelevant.

DCMS decided the easiest way to achieve their aim was to withhold much the same evidence as HE. The following shows DCMS review conclusions in blue, with our comments underneath each element.

The installation of power plant in 1944

The original Pavilion was constructed in 1936 and research in the National Archives provides evidence that the Pavilion was appreciably extended after 1941. The un-extended Pavilion could not have physically housed the Rushton engines. The Rushton engines must therefore have been installed following the extension of the Pavilion.

Documentary evidence is only one strand that leads to a decision. The physical evidence is equally if not more important. HE made a full inspection of the Pavilion in April 2017 and were able to assess the physical evidence for themselves.

The lack of protection for the Pavilion from attack

HE note that protection in the form of blast walls was usually only applied to buildings housing the pumps. They also note that there is no known evidence of blast walls in the golf course café that did house pumps. The Pavilion and the service it provided is however protected, in a sense, in other ways. The building itself is insignificant in its appearance and not an obvious target for attack. The tank providing fuel for the Rushton engines is buried and out of sight and the exhaust chimneys are fitted with equipment to filter and thereby significantly reduce visible emissions. The expense of burying the fuel tank and the care taken to reduce emissions in themselves point to a special role for the Pavilion and its contents.

The claim that the extension housing the engines shows signs of a military construction constitutes the entire basis for the listing. In fact there is nothing in HE's description of the extension that could not equally apply to a commercial installation, As yet, no evidence has been seen to support the claim an extension was built after 1941. Even if it exists, it does not automatically follow it was built in 1944.

HE's reference to protection from German aerial reconnaissance is certainly pertinent. This was the reason all Sandown's PLUTO plant was installed in existing properties.

The Allies were sensitive to the likelihood Germany was stepping up aerial reconnaissance of coastal areas, looking for any evidence of invasion preparations. The PLUTO project took extraordinary measures to avoid any visual evidence of their activities. They even brushed tyre marks off the road following overnight installations. The RAF flew their own aerial reconnaissance over PLUTO sites to ensure there was no sign of any alterations that could be detected by their German counterparts.

PLUTO records at The National Archives are quite specific in describing the practice of installing the plant in existing properties "none of which from their outside appearance had been altered in any way." The idea of building an extension on any requisitioned structure would have been out of the question. Changing the outline shape of a property would suggest some sort of development to German reconnaissance, or at worst, a new building, thus defeating the whole point of occupying existing properties.

It is difficult to imagine how HE could be aware of the reconnaissance imperative without seeing the obvious implications for an extension. DCMS were left in no doubt. They were provided with an emphasis on the above primary source evidence as part of their review.

Their decision to make no reference whatsoever to this stated PLUTO practice and its critical reasoning demonstrates how far DCMS were prepared to go in withholding key evidence from their minister.

The pre-1940 Pavilion

You are incorrect in stating that the HE report claims “the Pavilion housed no engines prior to PLUTO installation”. The HE report is clear that the Pavilion housed “a single engine and generator” probably from the date of its construction in 1936.

The original listing made no reference to any engine in the building prior to PLUTO.

In subsequent reports HE feel obliged to record some sort of prewar power supply for Browns, hence the suggestion of a single engine and generator in the building, while implying its main purpose was for the green-keepers and their equipment.

As the delist evidence will show later, HE were aware the existing installation was powering Browns' ice cream factory, club house cafe and canoe lake cafe for years after the war. PLUTO records show at least two of these facilities existed before the war, and along with pumps to water the greens, they must have been powered by the prewar engine house. HE decide never to acknowledge and address this evidence or make any mention of the full range of Browns' facilities requiring power.

HE's predicament is in having to accept Browns had generated their own power prewar but ensure the powered facilities don't sound substantial enough to require the existing plant. They overcome this problem by referring the extent of Browns' power requirement as just the 'clubhouse'. On the basis of this deception, they suggest a modest sounding 'single engine and generator' was all that was required. HE have no evidence source of their own to support any claim of what was or wasn't in the engine house. It is just a convenient invention.

DCMS are not going to draw attention to the full range of Browns' postwar power requirements or the fact that most of these existed prewar, as it would present a major challenge to their case. Refusing to address pertinent evidence is a practice DCMS will adopt throughout their review.

The possible re-use of the Rushton engines in the Pavilion

Your review request misrepresents HE's opinion on the re-use of the Rushton engines. HE do not suggest that "top flight engineers were roaming around the Island looking for pieces of secondhand machinery" or that cost was an issue when constructing the PLUTO project that was vital to the liberation of Europe. In practice engineers and project planners are unlikely to have unnecessarily expended valuable resources on new equipment if serviceable equipment was readily available or could be requisitioned locally.

The suggestion of secondhand engines being used for a PLUTO installation is one of the most bizarre features surrounding the issue. The original listing never raised the question of secondhand engines, nor did the delist application. It arose from HE's own corruption of delist evidence.

A Sandown resident who made several visits to the engine house plant while still operating in the 1960s said the existing installation pre-dated PLUTO, clearly suggesting the same plant was powering Browns' facilities before the war. This naturally supported evidence in the delist case.

This is the only piece of delist evidence HE directly refer to. To invalidate it, they distort it in their report by claiming the resident was saying the engines pre-dated an engine house installation, which is quite different. Having indulged in this corruption, HE left themselves with the task of claiming the Ruston engines installed to power PLUTO pumps were secondhand.

PLUTO records show engineers used an ample supply of specially acquired American Caterpillar diesel engines throughout the project. There never was a backup power supply, but had it been practical, they would have simply installed a couple of readily available diesel engines in the old fort, along with the other 14 engines and the transformer house.

In order to incorporate their self imposed secondhand engine theory, HE advance the idea that engineers decided to find some secondhand engines locally, coincidentally matching the PLUTO power requirements, hopefully in good condition and presumably not in use by anybody. In order to install them, they requisition an unsecured timber structure that was so unsuitable it necessitated building an extension to house them.

DCMS know the secondhand engine idea was a corruption of delist evidence. They know engineers had an ample supply of Caterpillar diesel engines for use throughout the PLUTO project. However, It is not clear whether they have sufficient understanding of the planning and control that went into the vital PLUTO project to realise how absurd the secondhand engine idea is. The fact this fanciful idea is derived from a complete fabrication extends the DCMS deception into farce.

The use of the Rushton engines

Your grounds for review again misrepresent HE's advice by selectively and incompletely quoting from them. HE do not discount the possibility that the Rushton engines provided back-up power for the pumps. The Wander report of 2017 maintains that the generators in the Pavilion were intended to act as a back-up power supply or to provide power to the control room and other buildings housing the pumps [my emphasis]. The power provided by the Rushton engines exceeded anything required by the golf club. Our opinion is that the available evidence points to the Rushton engines having a back-up role in the PLUTO project. A back-up system was particularly important as the main power supply to the pumps was above ground and therefore vulnerable to potential identification and attack.

Delist evidence from The National Archives provides details of the mains power delivered to the mighty 550 bhp motors driving the two Mather and Platt centrifugal pumps. It was supplied via high tension cables "providing three-phase current supplied at 50 cycles and 3,300 volts." The power required was so great it could not be taken off the mains grid at Sandown but had to be supplied on a direct power line from the Island's power station at East Cowes. The book Electric Wight describes how separate lines were laid across the Island to power both Sandown and Shanklin centrifugal pumps.

The DC output of the engine house plant is estimated as around 60kW and was obviously entirely unsuited to matching the PLUTO power supply.

HE never make any reference to this delist evidence in their reports and thus never dispute it.

HE ignore the evidence and continue to claim the engine house plant was a backup power for the pumps. However, they subsequently adapted their original claim with a suggestion the plant powered the rather vague 'control room and other buildings housing the pumps' (in fact the control room is officially recorded as being located in the mains powered Grand Hotel).

It is important to bear in mind there is no verifiable evidence to support the engine house powering any PLUTO facilities, let alone what such facilities were. All such statements can only be invention. Throughout this review reference is made to the 'Wander Report' but the lack of any sourced evidence shows this hearsay is just piling speculation upon speculation. There are no serious historians with serious evidence supporting HE's claims.

DCMS are well aware of the huge power requirements of the centrifugal pumps, the mains supply method and the limited power capability of the engine house. By making no mention of any of this evidence, they can advise their minister the technically impossible was possible.

Alternative suggestions for the extension to the Pavilion

You suggest that Browns may have extended the Pavilion in readiness for a return to business after the end of the War. This is very unlikely. Partly because the Pavilion and its power output are in excess of anything that would be required. Additionally the outcome of the War was in the balance at this period and it would have been very optimistic to carry out a development of this type even if Browns were able to acquire the materials and equipment, which is unlikely.

The Ruston models 6XHR and 9XHR in the engine house were available throughout the war. An additional installation would have been quite possible.

The DCMS claim that the engine house plant was "in excess of anything required" by Browns is based on the HE practice of referring to Browns' powered facilities as just the 'clubhouse'. DCMS and HE know full well the range of facilities included the club house cafe, the canoe lake cafe and the ice cream factory. Neither DCMS or anybody else has surveyed what equipment was contained in these locations or what power they required.

The purpose of the HE consultation report

HE consultation reports are reports on the factual details of buildings being assessed for listing or reassessed for delisting. They do not contain assessments or recommendations. Whether the application is to list or not to list isn't relevant to the purpose of the factual consultation report. By not engaging with the consultation you forwent your opportunity to correct any factual errors or to provide additional factual information. However, the review process has allowed you to submit any further evidence and to challenge the assessment and/or recommendation not to delist the Pavilion.

The delist complaint is not that the consultation report made any particular recommendation but that it made no reference whatsoever to the delist evidence. It merely reworded the original listing. With no idea of any alternative evidence, it's difficult to understand what the recipients were expected to consult upon.

DCMS say consultation reports "do not contain assessments or recommendations." It seems DCMS have little understanding of HE's consultation process. The letter HE send to interested parties says "Once we have carried out the preliminary assessment we will be in touch again to send you a copy of our consultation report. This report will set out the factual information on which we will base our recommendation." Clearly the report is the result of an assessment and has reached a preliminary conclusion. Absurdly, it is inviting recipients to comment without them having a clue what prompted the delist application in the first place.

Either HE are operating a completely pointless consultation system, or in this case, it was an intentional deception.

Either DCMS have followed HE's advice on this matter without giving it much thought, or when it comes to consultation reports, they are both in the same dysfunctional boat.

Lack of documentary evidence for the existence of back-up power generation

Documentary evidence, when it exists or survives, is only one way of researching the history of buildings. The physical survival of a building and its contents are of greater importance than a lack of documentary evidence. A lack of documentary evidence cannot nullify the importance of what survives.

The key point here is that there is a wealth of documentary evidence on the PLUTO operation at The National Archives covering virtually every aspect of the project, including regular progress reports, correspondence and full technical details of all the machinery and equipment. There is no reference anywhere to a backup power supply at Sandown, Shanklin or Dungeness, all of which had the same Mather and Platt centrifugal pumps.

In this context, the lack of documentary evidence looks quite different. DCMS were aware of this factor but careful to ensure their minister was not.

Evidence from the National Archives

Contrary to your original allegations a member of staff from HE did research the National Archives. Sufficient evidence was found to show that the Pavilion was greatly extended during WWII. HE are responsible for maintaining the full case file and the photographic evidence or the National Archives reference number can be obtained from them.

There is not a single reference to a National Archives determining source anywhere in any HE report. We can assume if they had such evidence they would have certainly revealed it.

In inviting an enquiry that is likely to reveal the truth, DCMS were doubtless aware the outcome can only arrive after the minister has signed off their recommendation.

Major Maurice Lickens, who was in command of the Cherbourg end of the PLUTO Bambi pipeline, and had visited the Pavilion, confirmed in oral evidence that it was part of the PLUTO system.

It has also been confirmed through oral evidence that the Pavilion was guarded by elite British auxiliary units "just before and in the week following" D-Day. This indicates its importance.

The lack of any proper research into Browns by HE has left them with a misunderstanding of the term 'pavilion'. While in recent years the engine house has been called the pavilion, it was never described as such prewar. All prewar references to Browns' pavilion refer to the club house, as was a common practice in golf clubs. This explains these comments. It also accounts for some confusion in accounts of Browns' history.

The auxiliary unit's quote is rather vague and it may be the Sandown pavilion element has just been assumed. If the quote is just 'guarding a PLUTO power station' it almost certainly refers to the main power station at East Cowes, from where the centrifugal pumps at Sandown and Shanklin directly received their power.

The delist case did not include all the available evidence and this element had been excluded, so DCMS were unaware of it.

The oral evidence from reliable and first-hand sources strongly points to the Pavilion having a role in the PLUTO pipeline project.

As has been shown above, the oral evidence referred to misinterprets the term 'pavilion' and does not support the listing.

The oral evidence of a living resident states that he regularly witnessed the present plant installation powering Browns' facilities after the war and said it was powering the same facilities before the war. His claim was confirmed by a second resident. Both parties were available for further enquiries but were not pursued.

DCMS's failure to reference this highly significant oral evidence tells us everything we need to know about their approach to what was supposed to be an impartial and rational assessment of the evidence.

The Wander report of 2017 notes that one of the smaller engines has had a limited running time of around 500 hours. It may be significant that this equates approximately to the operational period of the PLUTO Bambi pipeline (Isle of Wight to Cherbourg).

This is part of the HE claim that the existing installation was installed exclusively for PLUTO and only ran during the PLUTO operation. DCMS and HE have not actually disputed evidence that all the existing plant ran for years after the war - they have just refused to address it. The claim that any of the plant only ran for 500 hours is a product of the delusional expertise in which the Wander Report specialises.

DCMS are well aware the delist evidence demonstrates of the absurdity of this claim.

Oral evidence from a Sandown resident and Major Maurice Lickens

A Sandown resident, in oral evidence, was of the opinion that the equipment in the Pavilion was pre-war. It is accepted that the Rushton engines may well date from the pre-war period. However, as noted above the extension to the Pavilion that houses the Rushton engines, on evidence in the National Archives, was not built until after 1941. The original Pavilion, built in 1936, could not have housed the engines. They were therefore installed in the Pavilion after its extension in c.1944. Whether or not the equipment continued to be in use after WWII, for whatever purpose, is not relevant to the decision to list. Its wartime role is the principal reason for listing.

The corrupting of evidence leading to the myth of secondhand engines and evidence at The National Archives have already been dealt with.

The idea the plant's operation after the war is 'not relevant' is one of the most misleading claims of the entire review. A major plank of the delist evidence was a first hand unsolicited account of a Sandown resident who had frequently visited the site when it was still in operation in the 1960s. He explains how the existing installation was providing power for Browns' club house cafe, canoe lake cafe and ice cream factory, giving details of how the plant was operated. This clearly identifies the purpose of the installation. He also claimed the same plant was powering the facilities before the war. This evidence was also independently supplied to the IW Council's Conservation Department, confirmed by another source. They forwarded it to HE. The two contributors were on the end of an email address had anybody wanted to interrogate this evidence.

Central to HE's case is their claim the plant was installed exclusively for PLUTO and elsewhere in this review DCMS says machinery only ran for 500 hours, suggesting the plant only ran during the wartime operation. HE's reliance on supposition and invention cannot be sustained in the face of first hand accounts of living residents.

In spite of the significance of this evidence, HE made no reference to it in any report and refused to address it in their evidence to the review. In refusing to address in their review, DCMS have followed suit. DCMS and HE are fully aware of the critical significance of this evidence.

It is impossible to see the refusal to address this and other critical delist evidence as mere incompetence and cannot therefore be anything other than a planned deception.


The available evidence indicates that the Pavilion had a role in the PLUTO project. The project was critical for the liberation of Europe thus providing special historical as well as architectural interest to the Pavilion. The Secretary of State, therefore, after taking all relevant information into consideration, concludes that the Pavilion is of special architectural or historic interest in a national context and therefore should remain on the statutory list.

DCMS have supported a listing originally born out of nothing more than a baseless assumption, padded out with supposition, speculation and invention, all of which official records have shown to be fallacious. Indeed much of it could be dismissed by applying a modicum of common sense. NOT A SINGLE PIECE OF VERIFIABLE EVIDENCE IS PROVIDED TO SUPPORT THE LISTING.

By contrast, the case that the plant was installed by Browns to power their catering and industrial facilities before the war is supported by evidence from The National Archives, while its postwar continuation is verified by first hand accounts of living residents.

In order to support the listing, DCMS have knowingly presented fabrication as evidence and purposely avoided addressing critical elements of the delist case. Their favouring of speculation over primary sourced evidence is highly improper for an organisation who's deliberations effectively establish history.

DCMS were given the task of assessing the delist case in a fair and rational way but have intentionally perverted evidence to avoid any suggestion HE have acted inappropriately.

The misinterpretation of evidence will commonly give rise to a claim the errors were more witless than wilful. It could be the author of the DCMS report, Andrew Doidge, genuinely believes a 60kW DC plant could be configured to provide three phase current at 3,300 volts. He may even believe the authorities were dumb enough to advertise PLUTO developments to German aerial reconnaissance with visible structural changes.

However, the withholding of pertinent evidence can hardly be a mistake. It is not suggested the author is some sort of rogue element within DCMS: such casual contempt for primary source evidence could only exist in a sympathetic environment. Presumably somebody would have checked it before it was put to the minister. Anybody reading the full delist contribution to the review could hardly ignore the glaring anomalies in the conclusion, unless they were party to the deception. Presumably the minister would have signed whatever recommendation was put in front of him.

Subsequent evidence

The above report was compiled on the basis the delist team had not seen the 1941 aerial photo which HE said shows the engine house without an extension, in support of their claim it was built in 1944. A Freedom of Information request has now retrieved the 1941 photo. Contrary to HE's claim, it shows the engine house already has the extension, so it was in place before the war. It was clearly built by Browns and could not possibly have anything to do with the PLUTO operation

The article covering this disclosure is here