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Thread: Project Emily

  1. #1

    Default Project Emily

    Congrats on finding Driffield East Rob, (and for the extra info Siobhan).

    The Bardney pair are new to me as well - I thought the remaining Project Emily pillars were simply 'location unknown'. Are there more known locations not on T:UK or BM:UK ? Or did Rod S magic these up from the archives?

  2. #2
    trigbagger Guest

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    I'm really Glad that Driffield East has finally been sighted. A few years ago I asked a question on trigonomy about Project Emily as once I'd seen the first trig pillar there I'd done a bit of research (as none of the maps I'd looked at, even the older ones showed it) I was sure it hadn't just been moved from somewhere else (as sometime happens) as I'd checked out most of the pillars near it and found them where they should be.

    Once I discovered it would have been one of a pair I started looking for the other, I'd just never had the time to devote to a thorough search and at that point wasn't sure where on the area it would be. I really should have put more effort into it as my HQ is the camp next door, at one point I was working there on a daily basis and had legitimate access onto the area, I should have been out there looking during my lunch breaks. :lol:

    Then about 3 years ago my mate Dani told me that she had seen it, she had just wandered into the woods to answer a call of nature and there it was, I then looked on a few occasions where she had descibed it and not a sign, I had begun to think she was winding me up.

    It's good that this one has it's flush bracket. I know that Driffield West hasn't as when I first discovered that one it was standing upright on it's foundations and all four sides could be seen.
    Last edited by trigbagger; 19th October 2009 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Spelling

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by trigbagger View Post
    I It's good that this one has it's flush bracket. I know that Driffield West hasn't as when I first discovered that one it was standing upright on it's foundations and all four sides could be seen.
    You don't happen to recall if it had a space for a FB, i.e. did it look like one had been removed? I vaguely remember someone saying that paired Project Emily trigs only had one FB between them.

  4. #4
    trigbagger Guest

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    I don't remember that I'm sorry, I remember I walked around it looking for the flush bracket and I'm positive it didn't have one because I was disappointed that I couldn't make a note of the number. It was stood in the middle of a recent fire and I remember scrabbling about in the ashes looking for the FB, I didn't find it but I did find the metal plug though.

    I don't recall if it had the indented space for one though. It was about 8 years ago now and my memory is hazy. And the photographs that I took back then (and the ones I took when it was first moved to the hedgeline) were stored on a laptop that was stolen early last year so I can't even consult them to check.
    Last edited by trigbagger; 19th October 2009 at 09:52 PM. Reason: Spelling

  5. #5
    trigbagger Guest

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    I've just seen the photos that Garvald Punks has uploaded to T:UK of this pillar. Interested to see the close up of the flush bracket.

    http://www.trigpointinguk.com/photos/P65965.jpg

    There appears to have been an attempt to chisel off the OS, I don't think it's natural weathering or wear and tear as the rest of the lettering is still very well defined and prominent and where the S was you can make out some marks that look like they were caused as it was chiselled off.

    Would the MOD have done this as it was one of theirs and not an OS one as such?
    Last edited by trigbagger; 20th October 2009 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Spelling

  6. #6
    j.i.wilson Guest

    Default Project emily

    Forgive my ignorance - could someone tell me what is (was) Project Emily?

    Thanks

    Ian Wilson

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by j.i.wilson View Post
    Forgive my ignorance - could someone tell me what is (was) Project Emily?
    Cold war shenanigans. 'Project Emily' was the military code name for the deployment of US Thor ballistic missiles by the UK in the 1950s. A number of triangulation pillars (32 or thereabouts?) were purpose-built by the OS as part of the process of constructing specialist airfields for the missiles.

    Some of these missiles were fitted with nuclear warheads, and so were an early target of anti-nuclear protests, and some were used to fire satellites into space. Apparently the nuclear warheads were 100 times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Oh, the joys of the 'special relationship' with the US - we get the dubious pleasure of keeping their murderous weapons on our doorstep.

    As per usual, the whole thing was top secret and completely denied by the UK state at the time.

    This message will now self-destruct.
    Last edited by agentmancuso; 21st October 2009 at 10:48 PM. Reason: sp

  8. #8
    j.i.wilson Guest

    Default Project Emily

    Oh!

    I can confirm that in over 20 years of maintaining/extending/recording the OS trig network - I never came across the term on any document - anywhere.

    Just shows how secret it was!

    I would muse that it seems unlikley that OS ever bulit any pillars especially for Project Emily. Given the killing radius of a nuclear missile the accuracy of even the 4th order poillars would be well good enough for their purposes. I would suggets that exisiting pillars were more likely used.

    Thanks

    Ian wilson

  9. #9

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    That would leave the puzzling question of just why the OS would build 20 pairs of pillars, at intervals of a few hundred yards, in the immediate vicinity of ballistic nuclear bases, at the very point in time those bases were being fitted out for Project Emily, and then name the pillars after the bases.

  10. #10
    Sagina nivalis Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by trigbagger View Post
    I've just seen the photos that Garvald Punks has uploaded to T:UK of this pillar. Interested to see the close up of the flush bracket.

    http://www.trigpointinguk.com/photos/P65965.jpg

    There appears to have been an attempt to chisel off the OS.
    Yes - so there has - I hadn't spotted that. In the case of Bardney West, the "OS" and the numbers have gone; just the BM remains http://www.trigpointinguk.com/photos/P65955.jpg albeit the pic doesn't extend up above the "BM". Any suggestions as to the FB number? S98xx is as far as I can get.

    Would the MOD have done this as it was one of theirs and not an OS one as such?
    Could be. Or the OS requested it. As I understand it from Rod Sladen, the Emilys weren't built by the OS, but by the MoD to the OS design. But the details are in the OS archives, although not all of the FB numbers are known. I understand that FBs weren't known for any of the 3 found so far. RodS knows more on this of course. I'm not sure that he uses this forum but a msg on [trigonomy] would elicit more info I'm sure.

    There's a spreadsheet from RodS which I'm pretty sure is in the [trigonomy] files area.

    Hopefully more Emilys still to be found among the southern half of their range but the northern sites have mostly been fairly well searched.

  11. #11
    trigbagger Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagina nivalis View Post
    Any suggestions as to the FB number? S98xx is as far as I can get.

    Looks like the third digit could have been a 7, however I can't make out the last at all and to me the first number appears to have the rounded shapes of a number 8.

    I had read that the MOD made these trigs not the OS that's why I wondered if the OS wanted the OS lettering removed. I haven't a clue why though, mysteries bug me, lol.

  12. #12
    Sagina nivalis Guest

    Default

    I've just alerted RodS to this discussion; maybe he'll comment himself. Anyway, he reckons, "most likely S9872. Certainly S987x, evidently not S9871, but S9870 and S9879 remain possibilities"

    The Emilys with known FBs are/were S95xx or S98xx; that's not to say there weren't other subsets than these, I guess. I'm pretty sure the first number is 9 not 8, though.

  13. #13
    trigbagger Guest

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    You're probably right, the top is certainly rounded so could definitely be 9, the last number has been very well chiselled off so that one is really hard to see, but if 9 is a possiblily I can sort of make out a rounded curve on the top left hand side, but that could apply to a 2 also.

    Now I've looked at it with 9872 or 9879 in my mind, I can see that either are very good possibilities.

    I haven't looked through FB numbers though to see what S98?? numbers are taken elsewhere and which are therefore unnacounted for, I'm sure Rod has that info.

  14. #14
    RodS Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagina nivalis View Post
    I've just alerted RodS to this discussion; maybe he'll comment himself.
    And here he is now!

    There were 20 Thor missile sites constructed under Project Emily. At each site there were 2 pillars, so a total of 40 pillars. All were constructed to standard OS design. OS records indicate that 31 of the 40 had Flush Brackets, but the FB numbers are listed there for only 10 of them. Rob's find of S9865 at Driffield East adds one more to the known list.

    At least one pillar at each site evidently had a Flush Bracket - in fact, 9 out of the first batch of 10 sites seem to have had one pillar with FB and one without. The remaining 10 sites, plus Shepherds Grove from the first batch(also known as Stanton) had FBs on both pillars.

    For Bardney West, I reckon most likely S9872. Certainly S987x, evidently not S9871, but S9870 and S9879 remain possibilities.

    The FBs in the probable ranges that are or were unaccounted for are S9535, S9536, S9537, S9539, S9560, S9563, S9564, S9565 plus S9864, S9865 (now found by Rob on Driffield East), S9866, S9867, S9868, S9869, S9870, S9871, S9872 (but see Bardney West above), S9879, S9880, S9881, S9882, S9883 - It is likely that Project Emily accounts for all but one of these.

    Driffield West is recorded as having a Flush Bracket, but no FB nor cavity is visible on the 3 currently accessible faces

    The original locations for all the pillars are indeed known precisely (supposedly to a resolution of 0.01 metres, or 0.001 metres for the final dozen pillars!), but most have probably been destroyed or, at least, moved (as for example, Driffield West and Bardney West). Driffield East in the only one so far found which appears to be in its original location.

  15. #15
    RodS Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by j.i.wilson View Post
    Oh!

    I can confirm that in over 20 years of maintaining/extending/recording the OS trig network - I never came across the term on any document - anywhere.

    Just shows how secret it was!

    I would muse that it seems unlikley that OS ever bulit any pillars especially for Project Emily. Given the killing radius of a nuclear missile the accuracy of even the 4th order poillars would be well good enough for their purposes. I would suggets that exisiting pillars were more likely used.

    Ian wilson
    I'm not sure of the split between MoD and OS reponsibilities on Project Emily, but there are references in the OS records to "NG Job 42 (Trig)" for Feltwell and "NG Job 43 (Trig)" for Shepherds Grove, so there must have been some OS involvment, even if only in supplying the Flush Brackets and Spiders, and maybe drawings.

    The removal of the "O S" from at least some FBs suggests that OS might wish to make it clear that they were not taking any responsibity for maintaining these pillars.

  16. #16
    RodS Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by j.i.wilson View Post
    Forgive my ignorance - could someone tell me what is (was) Project Emily?

    Ian Wilson
    I should also have mentioned Albie Field's site: http://albiefield.co.uk/, in particular http://albiefield.co.uk/UK/OPEMILY

    I contacted Albie some years ago, by the way, but he wasn't able to add anything regarding the unknown FB numbers.
    Last edited by RodS; 23rd October 2009 at 03:37 PM. Reason: spelling!

  17. #17
    j.i.wilson Guest

    Default Project Emily

    I have no doumentary evideince to rely on - only an increasingly imperfect memory!

    I do vagulely recall MOD asking OS for the loan of pillar shuttering for a Project (Emily?).

    If the pillars were built in the eighties by OS (?) I am sure I would have known about the work because I was working in the office that would have ordered the gear (cement etc).

    As an aside - I recall OS borrowed a Wild GAK1 Gyro theodolite in return for the loan of the pillar shuttering. The GAK1 came from The Hermitage (have I gotr this name right?) - Royal Engineers Survey School. I wonder if the RE Survey School were involved with Project Emily?

    The acid test for those Project Emily pillars is - do they appear in the trig pillar list on the OS GPS pages? If so - then they have been incorporated in the OSGB36 computation, if not - then their coordinates must have been determined by someone other than OS.

    Fascinating stuff.

    Cheers

    Ian Wilson

  18. #18
    trigbagger Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by j.i.wilson View Post

    If the pillars were built in the eighties by OS (?) I am sure I would have known about the work because I was working in the office that would have ordered the gear (cement etc).
    They would have been built well before then, the Thor missile era was the late 50's and early 60's.

    That is interesting info about the loan of the theodolite.

    Yes Denison Barracks, Hermitage near Newbury is well known as the home of The Royal School of Military Survey (RSMS), namely 42 Engineer Regiment (RE). So your increasingly imperfect memory is spot on there.

    If you recall the MOD asking to borrow trig point shuttering on some later occasion, more recently than the Thor era, I wonder what they wanted it for.
    Last edited by trigbagger; 24th October 2009 at 05:52 PM. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
    trigbagger Guest

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    For everyones info I'll post this aerial shot of the area from 1960. The 3 Thor launch sites are clearly visible.

    http://www.gagb.co.uk/forums/attachm...1&d=1256406022

    I have zoomed in to to see if I can locate the trig, and there is something approximately in the area of the 10 fig GR where Garvald Punks found Driff East. I zoomed in to memory map and flagged GPs GR then compared it to the photo. You'll note that T:UK's base data gives a different GR, 500mtrs E of GP's GR. Where did the base data GR info come from?? Does anyone know the original GR of Driff West as T:UK's base data shows it's current loc, and does anyone know how far apart the Thor trigs needed to be.

    Anyhow hope the phot adds a little extra info for those of you interested in the Project Emily trigs at Driffield
    Last edited by trigbagger; 24th October 2009 at 07:05 PM.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by trigbagger View Post
    You'll note that T:UK's base data gives a different GR, 500mtrs E of GP's GR. Where did the base data GR info come from??
    Rob willl no doubt confirm this himself, but I think he deliberately input the GR 500m out, as T:UK rejects new entries that are too close to existing pillars, on the assumption that the difference is a user error. The only way round this is for Admin to override it manually, but unfortunately emails to Admin are not being answered at present.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by RodS View Post
    I should also have mentioned Albie Field's site: http://albiefield.co.uk/, in particular http://albiefield.co.uk/UK/OPEMILY

    I contacted Albie some years ago, by the way, but he wasn't able to add anything regarding the unknown FB numbers.
    I came across that site just the other day, I think just via Google, as a result of this thread. I liked the drawing showing the design for a pillar. First time I've seen one in colour.

  22. #22
    trigbagger Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmancuso View Post
    Rob willl no doubt confirm this himself, but I think he deliberately input the GR 500m out, as T:UK rejects new entries that are too close to existing pillars, on the assumption that the difference is a user error. The only way round this is for Admin to override it manually, but unfortunately emails to Admin are not being answered at present.
    Aah right, that makes perfect sense now, I saw the note in the log for the attention of the admin, for some reason I imagined that the base data GR had been found in some old records somewhere or other.


    I guess we'll probably never know Driff West's original location, shame

  23. #23
    Sagina nivalis Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by trigbagger View Post
    I guess we'll probably never know Driff West's original location, shame
    Thought we already did? To quote Rod's log against Driff West, "A more precise original location for this pillar is SE 98852 57040"

    Dummy grid refs on T:UK - if you try to add a trig within 500m of an existing one, it doesn't reject it, but adds a log to the nearby trig :wacko: Hence the workaround is use a dummy GR and then edit the log to include the correct grid ref after the trig has been added.
    Last edited by Sagina nivalis; 28th October 2009 at 08:50 PM.

  24. #24
    Sagina nivalis Guest

    Default

    I've just uploaded my copy of Rod's Emily spreadsheet to the Trigonomy files area: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trigonomy/files/

    Having done so I couldn't download it, so I've attached a zipped copy to this post. So get out there and find some more :-D

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagina nivalis View Post
    I've just uploaded my copy of Rod's Emily spreadsheet to the Trigonomy files area: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trigonomy/files/

    Having done so I couldn't download it, so I've attached a zipped copy to this post. So get out there and find some more :-D
    Brilliant, I'll get the remaining few added to the POI file asap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sagina nivalis View Post
    Hence the workaround is use a dummy GR and then edit the log to include the correct grid ref after the trig has been added.
    I've just used the same method to add Portpatrick Tidal Gauge Bolt (a Passive Station) - had to list it 1k west of the correct location. Hardly ideal, but there's no other option at present. I emailed the details on 15th August and haven't had a reply yet.

  26. #26
    Sagina nivalis Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmancuso View Post
    Brilliant, I'll get the remaining few added to the POI file asap.(
    Ooh goody. Looking like it might be Emily weather at the weekend (i.e. not good enough to escape to the hills!).

  27. #27
    Sagina nivalis Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmancuso View Post
    I emailed the details on 15th August and haven't had a reply yet.
    I've used the new (to me) contact form on TUK to flag up Driffield East needing moving so fingers crossed. Otherwise there's also Flickr where Deego lurks, to good artistic effect might I say

  28. #28
    j.i.wilson Guest

    Default Project Emily

    I had a chat with Richard Short last night - late Keeper of the Geodetic Archive.

    He confirms that OS did indeed build the Project Emily pillars probably in the 1950's - but date uncertain. He also confirms they were never surveyed by OS and were never incorporated into the trig lists - so, technically were never true trigs. It looks like another organisation (Army?) actually surveyed the pillars.

    As to the loan of pillar shuttering to RE's in the 1970's which I mentioned in an earlier note - what they wanted them for is still a mystery.

    Regards to all

    Ian Wilson

  29. #29
    trigbagger Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagina nivalis View Post
    Thought we already did? "A more precise original location for this pillar is SE 98852 57040"
    Great, I'd obviously missed that gem of info.

    Where does the original GR data of the emily trigs come from, for the ones that are moved I mean, I'm only aware of the OS data but if they were never in the official OS trig list their locations won't be listed there, will they?

    I'm nowhere near as switched on as you guys to sources of records.

    I was hoping to get up to Driffield this week but my cars gearbox needs replacing so I'm going to have to wait a while.

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by j.i.wilson View Post
    He also confirms they were never surveyed by OS and were never incorporated into the trig lists - so, technically were never true trigs. It looks like another organisation (Army?) actually surveyed the pillars.
    Fair point. Though presumably the army did use the pillars for local triangulation? Makes the FB numbers seem a bit pointless.

    As to the loan of pillar shuttering to RE's in the 1970's which I mentioned in an earlier note - what they wanted them for is still a mystery.
    There's another pillar out there somewhere...

  31. #31
    Sagina nivalis Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmancuso View Post
    There's another pillar out there somewhere...
    Bustard North-east comes to mind - slightly unusual construction
    http://www.trigpointinguk.com/trigs/...ils.php?t=7331

    Rod's note lists several other FBs booked out at the same time, "FB 10393 was one of a batch of 6 FBs (10071, 10193, 10390, 10393, 11180, 11307, at least some being previously used but recovered) recorded as issued by OS on 28/07/1987, thus suggesting a possible approximate construction date for this pillar. None of the other FBs in this batch have so far been reported; there may be other little Bustards lurking out there somewhere!" But that was 1987, not 1970s.

    Bustard itself is also a bit odd, poorly constructed with no FB incorporated: http://www.trigpointinguk.com/trigs/...ils.php?t=1818

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagina nivalis View Post
    little Bustards
    I'd forgotten about them; very intriguing. Maybe one place worth checking would be the location of the Old Trig at SU 10159 46080. Not that I'm volunteering - way too far south.


    I've now added all the Project Emily trigs to the POI, and was just about to upload it when I got the trigonomy message about the Outer Hebrides. Have to check those first!
    Last edited by agentmancuso; 29th October 2009 at 10:34 PM. Reason: subliteracy

  33. #33
    Sagina nivalis Guest

    Default Updated Emily list

    I've updated Rod's list to include current status and FB nos:
    Found (7)
    Not found (21)
    Not looked for (12)

    In Trigonomy main files section

  34. #34
    Sagina nivalis Guest

    Default Theodolite Pillars

    These structures are quite striking. Two nicely preserved examples at Feltwell North.

    Ian Richardson provided these notes - yes they really did set up on top of the things
    13ft tall pillars capped with mounting plate for theodolite; light metal framework for operators to stand on; brass studs set in ground at compass points around pillars; brick theodolite housing and pillar at 'tail end' of each emplacement; four other random pillars marked on Driffield plan, in and outside compound, though one looks very close to Driffield E pillar

  35. #35
    RodS Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by trigbagger View Post
    Great, I'd obviously missed that gem of info.

    Where does the original GR data of the emily trigs come from
    When the project was declassified (or possibly before), the MoD supplied a list to the OS containing all this information. This is the source for the "official" names for the Emily pillars, as well as for the grid references, FB heights and some FB numbers.

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by RodS View Post
    When the project was declassified (or possibly before), the MoD supplied a list to the OS containing all this information. This is the source for the "official" names for the Emily pillars, as well as for the grid references, FB heights and some FB numbers.
    Rod,

    any idea why the MoD used OS numbered flush brackets on some Emily pillars?

  37. #37
    Sagina nivalis Guest

    Default Emily on TUK

    Teasel's been busy: these now have their own Historic Use category on TUK
    http://www.trigpointinguk.com/trigs/...ils.php?t=7473

    So do Great Glen Project pillars
    http://www.trigpointinguk.com/trigs/...ils.php?t=7449

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagina nivalis View Post
    Teasel's been busy
    Yeah, great news. I got an email from him yesterday, then a whole bunch of corrections I'd pointed out were fixed today. :cheers:

  39. #39
    RodS Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by agentmancuso View Post

    any idea why the MoD used OS numbered flush brackets on some Emily pillars?
    I can only guess that

    - the pillars were constructed as per standard OS specification

    - levelling was intended as well as triangulation, hence the need for the vertical reference point

    I've no idea why there was a change during the project from only one of the pillars in each pair having a Flush Bracket to both having FBs.

  40. #40

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    I make that only one Project Emily pair to go Rob?

  41. #41
    Sagina nivalis Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmancuso View Post
    I make that only one Project Emily pair to go Rob?
    i.e. Harrington? Might do that this w/e if forecast holds good (bad). Coleby Grange also needs a proper look; I think Brisey may be following that up as he's local - access issues. Pretty sure from Google Earth that they're not where they should be, but could be lying around I spose.

  42. #42

    Default

    Aye, Harrington is the pair I had in mind. I keep a trig database on GSAK, downloaded as a .gpx from T:UK, with all the other bits & bobs added to it manually - Harrington N&S are the only pillars left with an MoD- prefix rather than TP- !

    I'll be heading for Tibbie Shiels Inn, snow permitting.

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