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Report - Royal Gunpowder Mills, Essex, September 2015

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by SuperNiki, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. SuperNiki

    SuperNiki 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Jul 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    This one was kind of a permission visit, and kind of not...

    I was at the RGPM's Fayre Times Festival, which has been held for around three years and for the last two at this venue, so although I had permission to be there... still had to duck from secca every time they drove round bits me and friends weren't supposed to be in! ;)


    The site has been in operation, in one form or another, since the 1700s. The site has previously seen life as; a fulling mill for cloth production, a gunpowder mill, a nitro-based explosives and propellants site, a defence research establishment (for propellants, explosives and rockets), and finally a research establishment. The RGPM is one of three Gunpowder Mills in the UK and is the best preserved example. The site finally closed as a research centre in 1991 after 300 years in production!

    The South side of the site has been totally cleared of buildings but the North side has been decontaminated and designated a heritage site, whereupon a visitor centre has been built for members of the public to learn about gunpowder and the history of the site. I recommend a trip round as a visitor, it is good fun!

    I've been here before, last year as a member of one of the re-enactment groups as well as a few years ago as a general member of the public, so knew there were some interesting bits to explore around. After having a bit of a poke around and a look at the aerial footage, we decided to have a little look around the bits that said no entry... and we found some cracking stuff!

    Onto the photos, sorry there's quite a few but the site is huge and varied!

    Who needs that many fuse boxes?!


    Still not entirely sure what these are for... but hey, gotta love a good set of chains!

    Stunning building, I've got some aerial video I'm working on too of this and other parts of the site!

    Grinding stone. There were quite a few hanging around

    Cogs for one of the press houses

    Apparently one of the last remaining original gunpowder presses, sad its sanding there rusting really...

    Inside the press house, the internal parts of the water wheel were really well preserved, if a bit rusty..!

    Another one of the press houses, built in 1879

    There's loads of random buildings behind the main field where the show was. Didn't get much of a chance to poke around in person as secca drove past and asked us to clear off. I was flying at the time so managed to drop them a line about dodgy GPS needing 10 mins or so to bring him down... they left us for a bit but they were back round pretty soon. Footage from the quad is cool though! Will post a link as soon as I've actually got it edited and uploaded! :)

    Another one round the back of the main building. These looked residential but didn't get too much chance to look.

    One of the press houses we were camped right opposite!

    Just can't help singing that Electric Six song in my head each time I see this...

    An exciting entrance...

    ... to a rocket testing place.... I think... either was it was a cool find!

    Corridor leading to one of a few underground bunkers!

    Bits of old machinery left lying around

    Bridge has the 'VR' arms on it for Queen Victoria... I thought this was kinda cool! :)

    Crowning glory of artistic shot of the day. I'm well proud of this one!

    Hope you liked the report and pics! :)

    Full set of photos here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/75530339@N02/yf9339
    mw0sec likes this.

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  2. superpaul39

    superpaul39 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Aug 12, 2015
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    Nice one it a cool place, we shall have to go back there with torches next time
    SuperNiki likes this.
  3. Cuuvin

    Cuuvin 28DL Colonial Member
    28DL Full Member

    Aug 26, 2009
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    They're either ....
    A. where they chain up naughty urban explorers when they catch 'em where they're not supposed to be :eek:.... OR

    B. To secure High pressure gas cylinders so that they don't fall over & knock the valve off the top, sending them whizzing about like some demented land torpedoes! :D

    Like these nut jobs ...
  4. Mr Sam

    Mr Sam 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jan 24, 2007
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    some interesting bits and bobs there, I like the VR bridge too!
  5. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jun 25, 2015
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    Great set of pictures, looks like an interesting place, right under my nose too
  6. WelshMoocher

    WelshMoocher Hello Dave!
    28DL Full Member

    Sep 11, 2015
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    Home Page:
    Great report, loved the pics, agree the chanins (looking at the curve of the brackets), is probably for holding gas cylinders/large extinguishers (if they are not locked).
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