A former employee of Burderop Park has explained what it was like to work on the historic grounds and how its former owners contributed to the war effort around D Day.

Iain Smith, of Dean Street, wrote to the Adver after reading that his old place of employment had been snapped up by William Arthur Property Limited, and wanted to share timely tidbits about his then-bosses Halcrow helped keep Britain going near the end of the Second World War as we mark the 80th anniversary of D Day.

His letter reads as follows:

Six months ago, the SA published two articles (December 7 and January 1) about the purchase of the mansion at Burderop Park.

It was wonderful to see the old place and that the usual pictures were not used in both pieces.

One showed the back of the house, which overlooks the lawns, down to the ice-house and through to the wooded valley which was planted to remind the owners of the rubber plantations of the Far East where they earned their wealth.

"The other showed the granary which stands on mushroom shaped footings to prevent vermin entering the building to eat the stored grains.

So I wish the new owner all the best. Just be aware of the adders in the grounds, the Japanese knotweed around the back of the walled garden, the bats in the stable block, the horseflies on the top floor of the mansion during the summer and that the building creaks and groans at night as it cools down.

Burderop Park was my place of employment for 26 years where I worked in the IT department.

My specialism was communications - so, local and wide area networks and later voice and server rooms.

This meant I got to know every nook and cranny of the place.

In the case of the mansion, that was from the wine cellar in the basement to the furthest corner of the attic.

The attic was always fun as immediately on entering you were presented with a dizzying view through the glass dome in front of you to the panelled staircase three floors below.

It was great to see that in the January 1 article, Halcrow’s name was mentioned since I’ve been told that when they purchased the site in the mid-1970s, that saved it from complete collapse.

Halcrow, or Sir William Halcrow and Partners as they were called when I joined them, were consultant civil engineers. Most people won’t know the name but they would have benefited from their expertise in some way.

Engineering projects include the Channel Tunnel, Crossrail, Second Severn Crossing, Dartford River crossing, Thames Tideway (London super sewer), M4/M40/M25 widening and Heathrow airport.

Further afield projects include Dubai dry dock and Yas Island. Anyone who has seen those strange concrete shapes (technically called Stabit) used to protect docks and coastlines can thank Halcrow since they invented them.

Halcrow was employed by the NCB for many years to monitor the coal slag heaps of Wales after the Aberfan disaster.

So why the letter now about a six month old article? Because of what Halcrow did 80 years ago during World War II.

Not everything Halcrow did during the war is known but as civil engineers they were busy. Sir William himself suggested the installation of floodgates on the London underground to prevent flooding in the event of bomb damage.

Halcrow surveyed, recommended and prepared Manod slate quarry in Wales so it could be used to store art from the National Gallery.

Due to a pre-war paper on the Mohne Dam, Barnes Wallis worked with Halcrow so that he could develop the bouncing bomb.

And in my opinion, maybe Halcrow’s greatest contribution, the design of the reinforced concrete for the Mulberry harbours caissons, which allowed the Allies to be supplied post D-day until French ports, like Cherbourg, could be liberated.

For his war efforts William Halcrow was knighted in 1944.