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Report - Rocket Propulsion Establishment - Westcott - Apr 2013 - Permission visit

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Els, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    A while back a lead was posted up on this place which showed a couple of derpy huts in some woods and I probably wouldn't have paid much attention had it not been for the fact that one of the pictures showed a sign saying "Rocket Motors Research Establishment, Westcott" or something along those lines. I was intrigued as I had never heard of this place before plus Westcott is also fairly local which is pretty handy if a promising explore happens to turn up near your doorstep.

    After a bit of a google I came across a set of pictures that showed a bit more of what the rest of the site might look like, lots of concrete bunkers and strange looking 1950's control panels. The pictures were not dated so it was pretty impossible to tell if any of it was still there or not but they did look fairly modern judging by the cloths some of the tourist in them were wearing.

    Funnily enough PCWOX had found out much the same, as we discovered on the chat box, but had stolen a march on me by getting in contact with the site office and asking for a visit, which they were happy to arrange.

    There is hardly any info about on this site so I've cut n pasted what I could find from Wiki. The rest I'm going to have a guess at.

    The Rocket Propulsion Establishment at Westcott, Buckinghamshire on the site of the former RAF Westcott has made a number of notable contributions in the field of rocket propulsion, including input on the rocket design for the Blue Streak missile and the propulsion systems on Chevaline. It was also known as the Guided Projectiles Establishment and PERME Westcott (Propellants, Explosives and Rocket Motor Establishment, Westcott).

    For many years this establishment was regarded as so secret it was not marked on Ordnance Survey maps, although it was marked, from necessity, on maps for the use of pilots.

    The establishment was set up in April 1946 under the Ministry of Supply. In the initial years a team of German scientists worked at the site, and examples of German weapons were onsite for study. These included the V-1 flying bomb; V-2; Feuerlilie F-55 subsonic missile; Messerschmitt Me-163B rocket-propelled interceptor; Rheintochter-1 anti-aircraft missile; Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air wire-controlled missile; Enzian E-1 3,150-lb missile; Henschel Hs 298 anti-aircraft missile; Hs 293 anti-shipping weapon; and Schmetterling and Wasserfall anti-aircraft missiles.

    Throughout the 1950s and 60s Westcott undertook the design and development of rocket motors, and was responsible for most of the rocket motors used in British guided missiles and research vehicles. The design of these whole missile systems was undertaken by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at its facilities in Farnborough and Bedford. In 1984 the Rocket Propulsion Establishment came under the control of the Royal Ordnance Factories, and in 1987 control passed to the private sector when British Aerospace took over Royal Ordnance.


    The site is massive and is split into differently named zones, though what relevance the names have I don't know. Also I took along my film camera loaded with iso400 b/w film, so you know what's what.

    C SITE.

    This is typically what a lot of the test bunkers looked like.

    IMGP9626copy_zps1020164b.jpg

    IMGP9615copy_zps884730c1.jpg

    IMGP9476copy_zps4ee9a1d2.jpg

    Access was generally through a reinforced door
    IMGP9473copy_zps62f34019.jpg

    Then on the inside there is typically the test chamber
    IMGP9446copy_zpsea50f41d.jpg

    and with small slots to enable the observers to see what's happening...
    IMGP9444copy_zpsd2255d41.jpg

    A fair amount of plant was still in place...
    IMGP9474copy_zps60ee9dab.jpg

    IMGP9482copy_zpsdeac551c.jpg

    The remains of the CCTV system used to monitor the rockets...
    IMGP9478copy_zps4a35659d.jpg

    These tie bar type distribution frames were a common occurrence throughout the site.
    IMGP9433copy_zpseddbcd58.jpg

    IMGP9466copy_zps03c1622c.jpg

    Each site had it's own designator.
    IMGP9462copy_zps087cdc5a.jpg

    Part of the cine film equipment.
    IMGP9456copy_zpsa79b751e.jpg

    IMGP9454copy_zps4e325edc.jpg

    Then this rather splendid control panel.
    IMGP9451copy_zpsbe0960e4.jpg

    IMGP9453copy_zpse10cb8c7.jpg

    IMGP9448copy_zpsb8cb2d4e.jpg

    Round the back.
    IMGP9460copy_zps09fc6fb7.jpg

    And the remains of another.
    IMGP9442copy_zpsb4a989a3.jpg

    What to do if there is a fire.
    IMGP9438copy_zps24569bd9.jpg

    In one of the chambers there are still some of the remains of the actual rockets.
    IMGP9616copy_zpsf1e21bdc.jpg

    IMGP9618copy_zpseffcb021.jpg

    There were also a few huts which mostly looked like this...
    IMGP9472copy_zps814a2447.jpg
     

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  2. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Re: Rocket Propulsion Establishment - Westcott - Apr 2013

    AREA 6.

    Lots of old 1950's Dan Dare equipment still in place in this area.

    03460003copy_zpscb386011.jpg

    IMGP9566copy_zps94de7d04.jpg

    IMGP9565copy_zps62f1712d.jpg

    IMGP9563copy_zps4f3bf6c0.jpg

    IMGP9561copy_zpsa03415cd.jpg

    IMGP9557copy_zpsa613fc60.jpg

    IMGP9555copy_zps504cb128.jpg

    Perhaps part of an rocket?
    IMGP9552copy_zpsa1a40e9a.jpg

    IMGP9550copy_zps97a54043.jpg

    IMGP9549copy_zpsce76d8c7.jpg

    IMGP9548copy_zpsf6deeae9.jpg

    The mess area at the back of the building.
    IMGP9560copy_zpsce500a1b.jpg

    This is apparently a scale model of the Blue Streak missile tested on site. Personally I think this is the housing that would have contained the Blue Streak under test.
    IMGP9547copy_zps0a410f9d.jpg
     
  3. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Re: Rocket Propulsion Establishment - Westcott - Apr 2013

    The WW2 Control Tower. I used my film camera for these pics. The building was stripped out but must have been used for storage at some point given the amount of cupboards in there.

    03460017copy_zps40873ccc.jpg

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  4. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Re: Rocket Propulsion Establishment - Westcott - Apr 2013

    K1 SITE.

    K1 test stand was built in late 1950s to allow rockets to be fired in an inverted position with the flume of gasses observed through the open roof and is the only one of its type known in Britain, still in use until the late 1980s.

    03460013copy_zpsa3b86287.jpg

    IMGP9613copy_zps8364acf0.jpg

    From the inside - I would image the rocket was strapped to the supports.
    IMGP9611copy_zpsfb049d70.jpg
     
  5. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Re: Rocket Propulsion Establishment - Westcott - Apr 2013

    K2 SITE.

    K2 was built in the late 1950s for test firing rocket motors in a horizontal position, the exhaust gasses deflected by a wall of refractory concrete

    The impressive blast wall.
    IMGP9595copy_zps7f995ab4.jpg

    03460010copy_zpsb85751db.jpg

    IMGP9606copy_zpsdf432fc7.jpg

    IMGP9597copy_zps38cb204b.jpg

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    View of the building used to house the rocket under test.
    03460011copy_zpsdf7b977e.jpg

    The observation deck.
    IMGP9607copy_zps362b93db.jpg

    And the view from below.
    IMGP9604copy_zpse1dd8e2f.jpg

    View to the rocket testing house, showing the route the exhaust gas would take.
    IMGP9600copy_zpsa50ab26a.jpg
     
  6. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Re: Rocket Propulsion Establishment - Westcott - Apr 2013

    P2 SITE.

    The two largest liquid propellant firing points are at P site, originally built in late 1940s for testing liquid fuel rocket motors, with P2 later converted in the late 1950s for work on the Rolls Royce RZ2 engine designed to power the Blue Streak intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) (B5). These pics show only the P2 site.

    03460001copy_zpsba3ef2fa.jpg

    Lots of these hexagonal concrete blocks where left lying around. I guess they where stacked someone with a rocket inside, but who knows?
    IMGP9534copy_zps53030bfb.jpg

    IMGP9537copy_zps2f6d5893.jpg

    Inside I guess the rocket were tested vertically with the gases being vented through the entry doors.
    IMGP9575copy_zps176af1ce.jpg

    IMGP9573copy_zps267300d9.jpg

    View looking back down.
    IMGP9571copy_zpsf5b8eeb8.jpg

    Small crane.
    IMGP9570copy_zpsde0d1691.jpg

    Round the back was the observation bunker, separate from the rest of the building.
    03460002copy_zps40bcfe3b.jpg

    A desk was still in place with the intercom along with some old testing equipment.
    IMGP9538copy_zpsf1a150d8.jpg

    IMGP9543copy_zps030ca237.jpg

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  7. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Re: Rocket Propulsion Establishment - Westcott - Apr 2013

    Vibration Testing Site.

    Lot's of old vibration testing equipment left in this building. I guess sensors where put on the rockets which where fired up and the amount of vibration generated recorded on the various gear in the pics.
    03460004copy_zpsb0dd24e3.jpg

    One of the testing recorders.
    IMGP9581copy_zpscd92e497.jpg

    IMGP9588copy_zpsa9072f16.jpg

    IMGP9587copy_zps267ca821.jpg

    Another...
    IMGP9585copy_zps849c7a0a.jpg

    There were also lots of other general out buildings whose perpose has long since been lost. Mostly they are stripped but there is still the odd piece of equipment left here and there.
    IMGP9579copy_zpseedb4925.jpg

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