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Gleniffer Braes, Starfish

Decoy Site (20th Century)

Site Name Gleniffer Braes, Starfish

Classification Decoy Site (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Clyde Aa Defences; Gleniffer Braes, Civil Starfish Decoy; Foxbar Q Decoy Control Shelter

Canmore ID 232038

Site Number NS46SW 196

NGR NS 449 602

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Renfrewshire
  • Parish Paisley (Renfrew)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Renfrew
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS45NE 59 4511 5983

This World War II brick and concrete decoy control bunker is situated in the middle of a field to the SE of the B775 public road and on the NW-facing slope of Sergeant Law, near an electrical switching station. It consists of a small two-roomed building with earth banked up around it.

J Guy 2001; NMRS MS 810/11, Part 2, 175-6; Vol.2 (appendix), 18.

This bunker is visible on RAF air photographs (106G/Scot/UK140: 5264 and 5265, flown 3 July 1946), some 500m SSE of the associated Starfish decoy site (NS46SW 196). Its denuded remains are visible on All Scotland Survey air photographs taken in 1988 (50888: 140, 141).

Information from RCAHMS (KM), 27 December 2002.

Archaeology Notes

NS46SW 196 449 602

The remains of a Starfish decoy site (SF13d) are visible at this location on air photographs taken in 1946 (RAF 106G/Scot/UK140: 5264-5265) and 1988 (ASS 50888: 140, 141). The associated control bunker is visible 500m SSE of this site (NS45NE 59).

Information from RCAHMS (KM) 27 December 2002.

Excavations; watching brief NS 447 602 A programme of archaeological excavations and a watching brief was carried out in April and May 2005 prior to the construction of a replacement electrical switching station at a WW2 air-raid decoy site. The majority of the features excavated were associated with the decoy site (NS46SW 196) and consisted of a gun emplacement, nine concrete plinths and a length of trackway. Additional features excavated included an area of rig and furrow and a circular turf feature, which was probably a cattle feeding station. No additional features were identified during the watching brief.

Report to be lodged with WoSAS SMR and NMRS.

Sponsors: Scottish Power, Power Systems.

M Kirby 2005.


Desk Based Assessment (2012)

CFA Archaeology Ltd undertook an assessment of the cultural heritage implications of the proposed route of a replacement overhead line (XF Route) from Neilston, Renfrewshire to Windyhill, East Dunbartonshire.

Although 109 cultural heritage features were identified by the desk-based assessment of the 250m buffer around the proposed route of the replacement XF overhead line, very few of these lie along the route of the line, or in immediate vicinity of the location of any of the towers.

The overhead line replacement project has been assessed against the cultural heritage baseline. Taking into account the construction methodology to be employed and agreed mitigation strategy, it is considered that the development conforms to Local and National Policy relating to the cultural heritage resource.

Funder: Iberdrola

CFA Archaeology Ltd

Field Visit (25 August 2017)

A control shelter, an adjacent building platform, two small concrete platforms, two enclosures for fire baskets, at least ten small circular earthworks and a service road are all that has been observed of this World War Two Civil Starfish Decoy, which is visible on RAF air photographs (M/127: 0013, 0014, 0018) flown about 1941 and on 3 July 1946 (Scot-106G-UK-0140-5265). The site is one of 18 decoys that were constructed as part of the military infrastructure designed to protect the industries in Glasgow and along the banks of the River Clyde from aerial attack.

The control shelter (NS 45110 59840) is situated at the SW edge of an improved pasture field 5m ENE of a drystone wall and about 180m SSE of the B775 public road. It measures 3.7m from NW to SE by 3.2m transversely, over brick walls 0.35m thick and 2.3m high, within a grass-grown turf blast wall up to 4m thick and 1.2m high. The flat concrete roof lacks a turf capping, but an escape hatch is located in the middle of its NW edge. The foundations of a brick baffle situated 1m from the blast wall at the SW corner, shields the entrance leading into the control room. Few fittings survive within the interior, but 7 steel rungs attached to the NW wall permit egress from the escape hatch. There is a circular perforation above the top rung immediately below the roofline, while another penetrating the roof adjacent to the SW wall may have been supplied for a chimney. In addition, there is a rectangular vent just above the floor by the W corner in this wall, while a small perforation for a cable is situated close to the N corner in the NW wall about 1m above the floor. At some point after its construction, bricks have been removed from the NW wall adjacent to the W corner to create a rectangular aperture 1.25m tall and 0.5m broad. Traces of a building platform (perhaps for a generator) are situated immediately SW of the drystone wall.

What remains of the decoy (centred NS 44900 60200) is situated in rough pasture NW of the B775 public road. The aerial photographs indicate that its character changed with time, the earthworks being introduced later. Two grass-grown, rectangular concrete platforms (NS 44791 60333) measuring 4.5m from E to W by 3m transversely, survive at the edge of a patch of thorns about 135m W of two rectilinear earthwork enclosures (centred: NS 44954 60387, NS 44933 60351), which are located on the crest of the rising ground close to the Ordnance Survey Triangulation Point. Only faint traces of these can be detected, but the earlier of the aerial photographs shows that this location originally contained rows of fire baskets. The ten small circular earthworks (centred 44903 60298), measuring about 4m in diameter and 0.3m deep, that are spread over the slope to their SW are more prominent, but are only detectable on the 1946 aerial photograph. Some are simply hollows, while others have faint encircling banks or exhibit central mounds. They have their best analogues at Douglasmuir (NS57NW 38) and may have held individual installations. The subsequent introduction of the temporary Cold War gun emplacement (NS46SW 35), an associated building marked by a hard standing (NS 44855 60260) and an Electricity Switching Station has destroyed much else, although the principal metalled road (NS 45167 60168 – NS 45040 60275 – NS 44785 60245) servicing the decoy installations is preserved as a green track.

At least one bomb crater (NS 44450 60190) visible on the 1946 aerial photograph about 300m W of the decoy, suggests that it once came under attack.

Visited by HES, Survey and Recording (ATW, AKK) 25 August 2017


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