Derelict RAF station on the moors turned into luxury holiday home near Whitby after surviving the war and Soviet bomb threat

A former RAF radar site overlooking the North Sea in North Yorkshire has been imaginatively restored and is now a luxury five-bedroom holiday home.

The Mulgrave Estate has spent 18 months renovating what was a derelict building and has created The Old Guard House, in Goldsborough, near Whitby, after working with interior designer Sibylla Phipps.

The original building needed to be restored to how it looked during the Second World War while a new extension involving the restoration of the balcony allows guests to enjoy a view of the farmland and also the bays and beaches of the coastline.

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Unfortunately, the underground bunker, in which the control panels of the Guard House were kept, was beyond repair. It had been flooded for many decades and it was deemed too dangerous to recover and is now sealed off for safety reasons.

As a former RAF radar site, it was always a landmark and a point of interest in the area which is surrounded by miles of open countryside to one side and the sea to the other.

Ms Phipps said: “This was a very large project for us: We needed to restore the original building to exactly what it would have looked like during the Second World War.

"We were also able to put in a modern addition, which has been designed to work in harmony with the feel of the original building, but takes advantage of the sensational views over the sea.

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“It always seemed sad to me that a building with so much historical value should be left in a state of total disrepair and disuse. My grandmother, who worked in the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) in the Second World War, had always been keen to restore it but all previous attempts, and there have been many, proved unsuccessful."

The Old Guard House at Goldsborough.The Old Guard House at Goldsborough.
The Old Guard House at Goldsborough.

The Old Guard House is now a mix of a traditional 1940s look but with modern comforts and1940s pieces of furniture and other vintage pieces have been sourced from local antique shops in Whitby.

The Old Guard House was originally developed in 1941 as an Army station to detect enemy ships approaching Britain by sea in the Second World war. In 1942, it was transferred to the control of the RAF, becoming RAF Goldsborough. It was part of the Chain Home Low radar warning system that was developed to detect low flying aircraft used by German forces.

Before this, the British were unable to detect low flying planes until they were at close range. RAF Goldsborough was one of the stations set up along the coast to fill this critical gap in coverage.

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RAF Goldsborough was upgraded in 1951 to counter possible attack by Soviet bombers and was fitted with an enormous underground bunker, in addition to the original Guard House.

In 2004 it was badly damaged by a fire and stood as a skeletal wreck until we began work on it last year.

The Old Guardhouse sleeps ten in five bedrooms with four bathrooms.