Malmesbury - History
Cowbridge House, which has existed for more than 250 years, has seen varied roles throughout its history, but none more important than its role in the Second World War.
Towards the end of August 1939, the Electrical Appliances Division of E.K. Cole Ltd., was instructed by the RAF to establish a ‘shadow factory’ to produce radio equipment. More specifically, Cowbridge House helped to develop radar for the Allies to utilise in the Second World War. Unknown to the residents of Malmesbury and the 1,000 or so employees working at the factory, they were at the cutting edge of wartime technological development. Secrecy was also taken very seriously, with regular reconnaissance flights checking to make sure that Cowbridge was inconspicuous from the air.
The original shadow factory buildings no longer exist, but outside the main gates are remnants of the military ‘pill boxes’ used for security and the old gazebo, where radar sets were tested before being sent out, can still be seen.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2004/09/01/entertainment_days_out_cowbridge_feature.shtml (last accessed on 11/07/2011).
Vernon, Charles & Malmesbury Civic Trust., An Historical Guide to Malmesbury (Malmesbury Civic Trust, Chippenham: May, 2005).