Listed status for St George’s Barracks missile site

The Thor missile site at the former RAF North Luffenham has been given a Grade II* listing.

The Thor missile site at the former RAF North Luffenham has been given a Grade II* listing.

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The remains of a Cold War nuclear missile site in North Luffenham has been awarded listed-building status by English Heritage.

The Thor missile site at St George’s Barracks, formerly RAF North Luffenham, has been given a Grade II* listing in recognition of its national architectural and historic significance.

The announcement comes on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the world came to nuclear confrontation.

During the Cuban crisis, the site was one of the four main missile basis and was put on alert and its Thor nuclear missile prepared for a possible launch on the Soviet Union.

The status has been awarded in by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport acting on advice from English Heritage.

The Thor missile site at the former RAF Harrington in Northamptonshire has also been awarded the Grade II* status.

Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, believes the sites deserve to be protected to remind people of their history.

He said: “The remains of the Cold War are fading from view faster than those of the World Wars.

“Our Cold War heritage is a complicated and not always easily loved collection of concrete bunkers and silos. But they are the castles and forts of the second half of the 20th century and we want to ensure that the best examples survive.

“These two missile sites are among the few physical reminders in this country of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a moment when the entire world held its breath. They deserve to be protected to remind present and future generations of this knife-edge moment in history.”

Thor missiles were the first operational intermediate-range ballistic missiles used by the West during the Cold War. Developed by the United States government, a total of 60 missiles were deployed at 20 sites in the East of England from 1958 under the codename Project Emily.