A small, reinforced defensive building built during the Second World War at strategic locations, used to provide a line of defence, called a stop-line, to stop invasion forces.
Initially there were seven basic designs, though modification and even unique types were not unusual. Various different types of camouflage were also common. Most pillboxes were built of concrete and were roughly circular or rectangular in design. Specific features included slits through which guns were fired and blast walls to protect the entrance.
These buildings held small garrisons of soldiers armed with rifles and machine guns. Some pillboxes were large enough to accommodate anti-tank guns. More mobile, and larger forces could then be summoned as reinforcement.
Defensive circles were also built around airfields, coastal batteries, towns and radar-sites. These might operate with other defensive measures.
Many of the pillboxes in Surrey were part of the GHQ Stop Lines that extended from Kent to Somerset, and in a circular layout around the outskirts of London. They were created to stop enemy forces advancing towards the capital if they managed to pass the barrier of the English Channel and invade the mainland.
Click here to access a self guided walk passing pillboxes.