Kilnsea Sound Mirror

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Kilnsea Sound Mirror

This concrete structure dates from WWI and is at Kilnsea in Yorkshire.

Before the advent of radar in WWII, sound mirrors were devices positioned around the south and east coasts to try to detect incoming German bombers and airships.

The metal post in front of the mirror had a microphone attached to gather the reflected sounds.


This page has more with a map showing the location of sound mirrors.

40 comments on “Kilnsea Sound Mirror
  1. salfordlad1 says:

    Fascinating – the things I learn from your stream..

  2. Keartona says:

    Yet another thing I have never ever heard or seen before 🙂

  3. rob of rochdale says:

    I saw these things on some bbc prog a while back, fascinating stuff.

    My hearing is getting so bad, I could do with one of these in some of the pubs I visit! 🙂

  4. nondesigner59 says:

    Superb shot.. They work too.!

  5. fleabo says:

    I had no idea that stuff like this was used in WWI

  6. martin.jordan says:

    Had heard of the concept but never seen a picture of one. Very interesting stuff.

  7. Travelling Man Photos says:

    I remember these (or similar) being talked about in the first series of ‘Coast’ . They enabled you to hear approaching aeroplanes from miles off in the distance. They carried out an experiment and they’re still effecitve

  8. Tech Owl says:

    Yes there are a number still along the kent coast – fascinating objects

  9. pasujoba says:

    I bet you could hear a pin drop if stood in just the right place in front of one of these .
    They did work as such but not well enough to enable an aircraft to take off and intercept one already flying . I believe ,although it may be false , that the sound mirrors across the countyr only ever resulted in one successful interception of an aircraft . Although i guess the strike rate could be higher regarding Zepplins due to em moving that much slower and being huge .

  10. cgullz says:

    [] farting in front of one would be hilarious then … you could almost see them in the control room – ‘was that a motorbike?’ ..

    very nice summery shot Ian. everytime i see one of these Pink Floyd comes straight to mind, even though i’m not a PF nut! weird social association.

  11. Jainbow says:

    It’s a wonderful photo, Ian – I too have seen them discuss similar mirrors on the Coast programme (think they were somewhere down south though) . :~}

  12. stopherjones says:

    They have a pair of these facing each other a little distance apart at a local kids park, the idea being that you each stand facing the mirror and talk normally to each other. Couldn’t hear a thing until we spoke loudly enough to hear each other across the gap…

  13. Orchids love rainwater says:

    Amazing ! you learn so much visiting your stream Ian , great photo :))

  14. amyrey says:

    But does it have an answerphone eh?

  15. gastephen says:

    Great stuff!

  16. crusader752 says:

    Like others I recall being intrigued when they featured these on ‘Coast’ Ian. Nice light and angle shows it well too.
    [] Don’t Ang …it hurts ;-)))

  17. yogagi says:

    Cool! Thanx for the history lesson! Congrats on selection to Explore.

  18. mick cooke says:

    great Ian, will have to keep my eyes open next time I’m up yorkshire

  19. IgorK54 says:

    Nice capture of the sound mirror.

  20. **Hazel** says:

    Nice one Ian, love the information and congratulations on Explore!!!:-) Have a nice weekend, hope you are OK!!!!:-)

  21. Travelling Man Photos says:

    Not the article from ‘Coast’ but something similar !! : –

  22. Steve Graham (formerly 'grahamsj3) says:

    I’ve seen photos of other types of acoustic listening devices before, but was unaware that this type (or the wall type) existed. Thanks for teaching me something today. It also occurred to me that todays satellite TV dishes work exactly the same way.

  23. stiemer says:

    It’s amazing how interesting a piece of concrete can be.

  24. cgullz says:

    [] farting in a sound mirror hurts? .. 😉

  25. Highy says:

    Very nice mate, got your shoes clean yet?

  26. Gizzardtreedude says:

    Laughing at Ang’s comments…..Parrrpppp!!! OMG!! how far away was that earth rumbler!!
    Sound the alarm, its gonna be a big un!….
    Mmmmmm Pink Floyd, I like that association 🙂
    Seriously interesting stuff Ian, always learn something new from your screen and had a good laugh as well

  27. Billy Currie says:

    Wonder just how effective they were. I suppose they worked or they wouldn’t have built them.

  28. Ian D B says:

    [] There are people who just love concrete –
    The Concrete Society for Your Concrete Community. You can read their magazine. It is called "Concrete – incorporating Concrete Engineering International".

    [] Thanks Wilf. But I will be asking you to complete some homework soon…
    [] [] I have seen the ones in Kent too, they are intriguing structures.
    [] [] [] [] I never saw the Coast programme but that link is very good Jon, thanks for adding it! Worth a watch.

    [] No. But I have another 163 pairs so it doesn’t matter.
    [] [] [] [] [] Yes they did work, but alas the range wasn;t that great and as the 1930s progressed, aircraft became faster which meant that by the time the listener had located the incoming aircraft the things were practically overhead!
    [] Good point.
    [] [] [] Was that an aircraft? No it is Ang farting in New Zealand, we can hear her from Yorkshire!
    [] []
    [] [] [] [] [] [] Many thanks guys!
    [] A concrete answerphone? The News of the World would have trouble hacking that!

  29. pasujoba says:

    I,m a PF nut ….and i want to see a flying pig hovering over a sound mirror!

  30. *Psycho Delia* says:

    Wonderful stuff 🙂

  31. cgullz says:

    [] lol i’ll mail it express …

    gull fart detection

    [] i’m surprised they haven’t worked one into a stage performance somewhere …

  32. bill_fawcett says:

    Interesting stuff – is it a protected historical site? I’m sure the farmer finds it a pain having this lump of concrete in the middle of his field and just surprised it hasn’t been removed.

  33. bazylek100 says:

    The Big Ear listening to the Zeppelins coming! It does look like some surreal art installation.

  34. jr55 (John Richardson) says:

    Nice, thanks for posting Ian, I had no idea they were still around, love that area, must seek them out.

  35. Seigar says:

    It really got my attention.

  36. Graham says:

    I remember this one from F**ckr. Worth saying again: Great stuff!

  37. Excuse the puzzlement but how did you get the historical comments to pull through as well??? Clever!

  38. Dave L says:

    Fascinating stuff Ian – I was in Hull last week and during a bit of spare time I went east and passed RAF Holmpton which is quite close to Kilnsea, Shame it was closed due to refurbishment but it looks a really great place to visit once it reopens 🙂

    Have attached a link showing how big it is – bearing in mind that there is very little above ground !

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Dave, good to see you. RAF Holmpton looks an amazing place. Nice to see a few photos of Goodwin battery on there too.

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