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Report - ROF Elstow, Bedfordshire 30/08/08 .

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Tankman, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. Tankman

    Tankman 28DL Full Member
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    This is a massive site of extreme proportions and to do a good explore will take several visits. A brief history of ROF Elstow has already been covered in a previous visit by lampyman in July 2007 (now archived) a good book about this place was written just after its closure of which I have been able to get a copy of. Here are some stats from the book which I hope conveys the enormous size and complexity of this former Ordnance site.

    Work first started on the construction back in October 1939, and was completed by February 1942 where enough buildings were completed to start production in a small way. Production commenced on 9 February with the filling of two-inch tench mortars bombs. During the first few weeks an average of 6,000 bombs of this type was filled each week. Once this process was completely mechanised it was producing the trench mortar bombs at the rate of 130,000 a week on one shift! The original estimate of the factory's capacity in this direction was 90,000 bombs a week on three shifts, but in 14 months the factory actually produced 5,146,869 bombs:eek: It eventually went on to produce the massive 4,000 pound bombs, known as the "Blockbuster" and produced the famous "Bouncing Bomb" used in the famous Dam Busters Raid.

    Without counting air-raid shelters and small sheds, their was some 250 separate buildings with six miles of main roads, eight miles of concrete roads connecting the process buildings with the transit sheds and magazines and 15miles of railway track. The heating of buildings had to be produced by two separate boiler houses. These boilers produced a combined output of 122,000pounds of steam per hour, and about 14 miles of steam mains distributed this heat to all sections of the factory. The electrical system alone gives some idea of the extent and requirements of this wartime township. Five sub-stations of about 2,500 k.w. output was needed to supply the lighting for the factory and machinery.

    Man has left his mark in many ways on this site throughout its life, but this is all due to eventually be demolished to make way for a new town called "Wixams" But this has proved to be slower than first thought because buried munitions and chemical ones at that:eek: have been recently found. Trouble is these were buried in the 1950's and there are no records available to say where they were buried:crazy
    Anyway on with the Pics.

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    One of many bomb storage areas. These stores were heavily protected by massive concrete roofs with railway access into the buildings.

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    Interior of bomb store is in a very clean state, but be warned that these buildings contain Asbestos so if visiting wear a face mask.

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    Wartime signage is still in evidence througout the site if one cares to take time to look! Sign says "Beware during the hours of darkness ----?

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    WW2 Corrugated cardboard still hangs in some of the bomb storage areas. Its purpose was to help absorb moisture in the atmosphere to stop the bombs rusting!

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    Heavy concreted position within the TNT storage area. Whatever was stored in there must have been very volatile:eek: as the interior contained two concreted vents that exited skyward! The wooden shack is also of WW2 vintage!

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    Miles of exploration await you:thumb

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    The Pillbox atop the roof of the building is the ultimate climb.:thumb I shall return for this in due course.

    For more pics:

    http://s260.photobucket.com/albums/ii38/tankman_2008/WW2 Royal Ordnance factory ELSTOW Beds UK/
     
    #1 Tankman, Aug 31, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2008

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  2. Tankman

    Tankman 28DL Full Member
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    Re: ROF Elstow, Bedfordshire 30/08/08 Report.

    Happy to oblige:thumb

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    Original cardboard lining from the ammunition stores still lay in place, there purpose was to absorb the moisture in the atmosphere and to help control rust forming on stored munitions.

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    Massive slabs of concrete roof lay precariously from roof beams:eek: in one of the filling shops

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    You can walk for miles and not get bored:thumb A training ground for "urbexing"
     
  3. Tankman

    Tankman 28DL Full Member
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    Re: ROF Elstow, Bedfordshire 30/08/08 Report.

    Thanks for the compliments! Nurse Payne, Much appreciated:thumb
    I returned there over the weekend and spent some 4 hours wandering all over the place, no sign of any security as long as you stay away from the building site compound. Currently researching Elstow in the archives in London. Its amazing what went on at this place The buildings are really coming to life thanks to the archive records. A few extra pics taken over the weekend.

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    One of the many pathways that connect to the various buildings. Cardington Airship sheds are in the distance.

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    Walked out of one of the buildings and was greeted by this telegraph pole leaning at a precarious angle:eek:

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    Metal thieves are going into the buildings and unbolting the girder roof supports:eek: Result collapsed roof. There is a lot of girders that hold up the concrete roofs in the bomb storage areas that have gone as well:crazy So be careful when exploring these as they are liable to collapse:eek:

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    Wall mural:thumb in one of the former bomb storage areas. Later used as a furniture warehouse. This was in the kids play area.

    The tunnel rumours appear to have some foundation, as there are railway tracks that go into the ground in certain areas of the site. These tunnels were used for dumping chemical munitions in the 1950's. After they were filled they were plugged with large lumps of concrete. There have been some recent finds of bombs by the builders and some people who helped in the chemical munition dumping, have come forward and verified that the dumping took place:eek:
    If you want to meet up Nurse Payne for a Re-con of Elstow PM me and I will gladly show you around the site:thumb
     
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