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Report - RNCF (Royal Naval Cordite Factory) Laboratories - Holton Heath, Dorset - Dec 11

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Chaos, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Chaos

    Chaos 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

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    Having done the whole of the RNCF site except for the labs, I payed this place a visit a few months back and access was sealed tight. Looks like the security company were right on the ball with repairs to the palisades fencing and I didn't fancy climbing. I really wanted to get this one done to complete the whole RNCF site.

    I bought a new lens for my camera today and wanted to try it out so decided to go for another look as it's just up the road from me. I visited with a non-member, we had a walk around and the perimeter fence seemed tight as before. We decided to take another walk around and if you pay attention to the finer details, use your brain and look a bit closer, you'll always find a way in.

    Here's some history on the place:

    The Royal Navy Cordite Factory, Holton Heath, (RNCF), was set up at Holton Heath, Dorset in World War I to manufacture Cordite for the Royal Navy. It was reactivated in World War II to manufacture gun propellants for the Admiralty and its output was supplemented by the Royal Navy Propellant Factory, Caerwent. After the end of World War II, the explosive manufacturing areas of the site were closed down and some areas of the site reopened as an Admiralty Research Establishment. A major part of the explosives site became a Nature Reserve [1] in 1981. Other parts of the site were converted into an Industrial Estate; and some may be used for housing.

    The Admiralty Research Establishment became part of Defence Research Agency (DRA) and DRA Holton Heath finally closed in the late 1990s. None of the site is now owned by the Ministry of Defence.
    The laboratories controlled the testing of raw materials coming into the site and the quality of explosives manufactured on the site. To the north is a group of stores for explosive samples, very similar in form to the expense magazines found on other explosives sites such as Waltham Abbey. The buildings, built to the designs of Fox and Sons of London, are all designed in the neo-Georgian style adopted for the administrative buildings associated with the government control of munitions which Lloyd George introduced as the National Factories Scheme in 1916. Thirty six explosives factories were built, mostly occupying areas of between 200 and 300 acres, of which the most significant is Holton Heath. With the exception of the National Machine Gun Factory in Burton-on-Trent, this group of buildings comprises the most important purpose-built complex to have survived from this programme.


    The explore was a bit rushed because we only had about 2 hours before we lost daylight so it was a quick scout around the buildings and a few snaps with the intention of a re-visit. Unfortunately the pikeys had found their way in and stripped the copper wire from just about everywhere. They'd even dug the ground up outside to extract the cables lying beneath. I fucking hate pikeys. The main labs also had junkie needles lying around so if anyone plans on a visit then be careful.

    Here's a couple of external shots to begin with

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    The main section of the labs

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    An image I found of the labs from when it was functional

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    A few pictures from an elevated position in the labs

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    Some finer details

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    Chemical Stores

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    Fume Cupboards

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    Strange newspaper clippings in this room off the chemical stores

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    Thanks for looking
     

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