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Report - Little Heath (FFD1)

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by SaltGeorge, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. SaltGeorge

    SaltGeorge Сталкер
    28DL Full Member

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    There's quite a detailed description on Subterranea Brittannica so I'll try not to repeat too much of this and focus on what remains now. There is a very useful map on the Sub Brit page that will help orientate the pictures.

    Some basic information. The site is one of five second world war chemical weapons charging depots built in the period 1941-45. The site had a bulk storage capacity for 1,500 tonnes of mustard gas reagant plus charged munitions.

    An update to the present condition following on from where Sub Brit leaves off. The site is now owned by the Elvedon Estates but as largely disused. The East of England Tank Museum have now left the premises and relocated. The million-or-so illegally stored/processed tyres have now been removed.

    First hint of something interesting to come is about half way along the access drive when you come across a picket post at the side of the road.

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    As you approach the main gate and gatehouse pay attention to the field on the left between the road and the former rail line. In the field is an underground mixing tank and a raised filterbed type structure. It may be connected with processing wash effluent from the main buildings.

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    An overall view of the site from inside the main entrance.

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    In the open ground to the front would originally have been found the three bulk holding vats, each with a capacity of 500 tonnes of chemical agent.

    From this side of the complex, starting at the far left closest to the line of the railway.

    The bonding building with rail access. You can still make out the curving line of the former recessed track. The brick structure in front of the bonding building is of uncertain purpose, but a faded sign revealed where a more modern sign has been removed appears to say, "con?oy store".

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    Next is the first of the charging buildings. There are two of these in parallel. The closer one has recently been used as the shop by the tank museum.

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    I believe the shop end is the former decontamination room and toilet. The main area of the charging building is equipped with overhead beams for hoists, including several swinging jibs.

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    The bonding buildings and charging buildings were linked by tin-roofed brick tunnels which have all been removed, although traces remain in arches over doorways and in a bricked-up stub.

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    The upstairs rooms are not accessible from inside; I'd missed this in reading the Sub Brit report before I went so spent some time scouting for stairs. The condition of the site is not inspiring confidence for climbing around crumbling brickwork on my own - next time I'll take company.

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    In front of the charging house is a buried emergency water storage (EWS) tank.

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    Further up from the charging house is the storage buildings. In front of which is a loading dock and a transformer building (still humming).

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    That completes a run up one side of the complex, I'll introduce part of the other side in part two.
     

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