This building was demolished - as far as I know - in the late 1970's or early 1980's. I last saw it about 1978 (but didn't have a camera to hand, unfortunately...). The landscape surrounding where it stood has now changed beyond recognition.
Square in construction and made from reinforced concrete, with walls about 9 ft. corner-to corner and about 8 ft. high, it had an entrance door in the east corner, which was angled slightly - presumably for blast protection. There were two elongated loop-holes in the north corner (which looked out to sea), one loop-hole in each wall. Some photographs shown for comparison were sent to me by Philip Carlisle, of English Heritage, and they show a similar post located at Kingswear castle, Devon. The post at Workington was about half the height of this one, with blast-protected access door the full height of the post. That aside, the remaining architecture was identical.
The dock is just to the south-east, and the north pier is to the west of where this structure was located. Behind, and no more than a few yards away was an embankment running about 6ft. higher than the building, and behind this embankment was the engine and generator room for the coast-battery searchlights, an oil-tank on stanchions at a rail-head (most likely the generator fuel supply), the battery camp, and a brick-lined slit trench air-raid shelter.
On top of the roof, right in the centre, was a smaller concrete turret, about 3 ft. by 3 ft., and about 3 ft. higher than the roof of the building; a cube, effectively. There was a small loop-hole in each of the four faces. To reach this turret from inside, a short iron ladder was fixed to the floor directly beneath it, high enough (four or five rungs) to enable me (6'1") to peer through the turret loop-holes with ease. There may have been a small platform attached to this at some time.
This building was manned by a detachment of Marines, who signalled to vessels as instructed, upon receipt of a telephoned message from the Battery Observation Post.
The photograph of Kingswear XDO Post on the right shows the position of the corner observation ports quite clearly. Although what appear to be loopholes are evident in the lower section of the Kingswear post, I am as yet unsure as to whether the Workington post contained any weaponry. I don't recall any loop-holes other than those shown in the sketch.
Philip Carlisle suggested that this building (the use of which had previously been a mystery to me!) was an "Extended Defence Officers' Post" or XDO post, and was used for mine-watching. Enemy bombers might have dropped mines along the coastal area to thwart shipping, or the area might have been subject to mine-laying by the Royal Navy in a bid to protect shipping lanes. Either way, detailed observation would be necessary to prevent an incident.
PICTURE LEFT: Looking at the rear of the Kingswear Castle post, one can see the concrete turret on the top much as was seen from the embankment behind the Workington post. The entrance door at Workington was similar in profile, but extended to the full height of the post.
Graphic | Coast-Battery Today | 1948 Aerial Photo | Main Coast-Battery Page