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Report - NCB Stoke Orchard Revisited - 11/01/2009

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by clebby, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    As it was only a short cycle ride away, and I had had a lazy weekend doing nothing but watching Friends and eating chocolate fingers, me and da-mop decided we would once again visit this still little-documented site - the NCB Coal Research Establishment at Stoke Orchard.

    As I have already given the history in my earliest report from November (http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34722&), I shall make this brief...

    The NCB Coal Research Establishment was opened in 1950 by British Coal's Jacob Bronowski, to test and research methods of extracting crude oil from coal. The CRE's scientists succeeded,, however, the proess was very expensive and complicated, and was therefore not deemed economically viable. When the British coal industry was privatised in 1994, funding was no longer available and it closed its doors a few years afterwards.

    We managed to see a large portion of the site - reaching the test laboratories and the main extraction plant. Anyway, on with the pictures...

    One of the many chimneys that make up the extraction facilities - the part of the site most visible from the surrounding area...

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    Inside, most machinery was left in-situ. The ground floor was by far the largest and by the looks of it the loading bay. These giant pieces of machinery were left behind...

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    This gives an idea of the vast size of the room...

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    The loading bay had its own control room. The weighing scales in the background of this shot went up to 5 tonnes!

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    Off to the side of the loading bay was a room that was full of control panels - no doubt for the enormous machines upstairs...

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    The first floor was more like a balcony over the ground floor, but it had some shelves crammed full of valves, taps, screws, bolts, old tools, g-cramps and everything imaginable relating to to a factory.

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    Pipes and taps ran around the building - I can only assume they were used to transport water and coolant.

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    The second floor was an enormous room, mostly taken up by some colossal hoppers. The hoppers led straight down to the ground floor loading bay, as the first floor was off to the side. This, I can only assume, was where the finished product was loaded onto trucks.

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    Also present were some bizzare spherical-shaped structures, higher than a man, which were made of wire and had two electrodes. A current was obviously passed through, though I cannot imagine why.

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    This was where the current was passed in, via some electrodes...

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    The third floor was a lot lower, and was taken up by the tops of the hoppers, where whatever went through them was fed into the the main hopper. There were also a lot more pipes up here...

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    Access to the roof and the bases of the chimneys was from this room. The roof was flooded but had now frozen, so the way across it was via a rotten, rickety wooden walkway. At the other end of the roof was a large metal furnace-like structure. One of the rooms contained hoist machinery, but the other contained a bizarre furnace that was painted red and had lots of porcelain dips in the floor. This place was full of suprises.

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    After we left, we proceeded to the proper research facilities, and a quick peep through the windows revealed what we were looking for - labs.

    Access was interesting, to say the least, but once inside the labs were incredible.

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    There were 3 different gas taps for 3 different gases...

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    The fume cupboards were equally as impressive - containing dials and guages one would not expect to find...

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    Off to the right of the labs was another machine room; this time very tall and crammed to bursting point with equipment.

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    These included a large engine that powered a drive belt, which in turn powered some huge cogs.

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    There were also some side rooms that also appeared to be labs, only this time much more industrial.

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    There was also an office that was packed full of various coal related paperwork, some of it unopened.

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    #1 clebby, Jan 11, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009

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  2. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    NCB Stoke Orchard Revisited - 11/01/2009 REPORT

    The extraction facilities were so large they required there own water tower, separate from that of the sites main one, but almost the same height. It offered stunning views, but the rusted top creaked and groaned under our weight. It was still a nice place to eat our Hula-Hoops though! :p

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    Even though I saw a lot there is still a lot more to see - so watch out for another report! ;)
     
  3. Da-Mop

    Da-Mop 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Da-Mop's photos of NCB Coal Research Establishment

    Just some of my best photos from the two days we were there. Even though we saw a massive amount we think we have barely done half the site.

    Won't bother with a history but if you want to see my previous visit look on
    http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34730&highlight=NCB+coal+research

    Since I am still to see the rest of the site and will be returning, PM me or Clebby if you want to tag along. It really is an awesome site sidewise and since so much was simply left behind and not vandalised.

    Anyway time for the photos.
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    Hope you enjoyed the pics.
     
  4. e5daz

    e5daz Guest
    Guest

    Re: NCB Stoke Orchard Revisited - 11/01/2009 REPORT

    Gee that brings back some memorys lol
    Some of them rooms I use to work in lol

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    This is what we called the Cage.. Basicly it measured heat of a fire source.there use to be sensors inside the cage fix to the x parts.

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    use to work in here some times. Coal came in in them blue tubs.. then we used the sivs that you can see in the pic on the left stood up to seperate the different sizes.. theres a machine in the corner that you fitted the siv in and it shook left n right lol..

    Once they were seperated they went in the oven to dry out as they use to be wet with moisture..;)
     
  5. e5daz

    e5daz Guest
    Guest

    Re: NCB Stoke Orchard Revisited - 11/01/2009 REPORT

    Depends which labs you mean mate there were so many..
    Alot of the left hand side of the site was unused when i worked there.. i think a small part was used to make brickets.. Basicly pressing the coal into small shapes.Which we then tested.

    Im sure some of the site is still active? I was told where I use to work they still used..
    Part with many fire places in the centre? and offices up stairs?
     
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