Report - - Holton Heath Laboratorys - May 2011 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Holton Heath Laboratorys - May 2011


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Regular User
Visited as usual with Montstar and Markymark

We've been here a few times before, about 2-3 years ago I think, when Markymark was working over the road. (He's got great knowledge on the whole area, so contact him for that!)
But we've been meaning to revisit for a little while, and with nothing to do one particular Saturday we took the short drive from sunny Weymouth, to not so sunny Holton...

When we last visited the security fencing was about as much use as an ash tray on a motorcycle! How things have changed!
Every single way in has been very recently repaired and we were on the verge of giving up, however, as we all know you just have to pay attention to the finer details and there's always a way in...

HISTORY: Holton Heath comprises the most significant of the explosives factories constructed for the British government during the First World War, very different in its plan form and development from earlier sites - notably Waltham Abbey - which had been based on gunpowder production; later sites, such as the Royal Naval Propellants Factory of 1938 at Caerwent in south Wales, benefitted from the technology gained at Holton Heath. The site at Holton Heath, adjacent to a railway and well-placed for export to the principal naval dockyards, was selected in autumn 1914 by the Admiralty for the manufacture of the Royal Navy's independant supply of cordite for shells. It was opened in January 1916. The hills at the centre of the site were used for a reservoir and nitroglycerine plant. In the inter-war period, Holton Heath, together with Woolwich Arsenal - where Frederick Abel's 1860s offices have been listed grade II - became the site of the British government's most important explosives research laboratory.

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.

My Shots from a surprisingly great visit of a relatively small local site:


Labs Entrance Gates


Labs Main External


Labs Inc Glass Roof


Labs Main Room


Labs Workbench


Lab Bench 1


Bunson Burner Gas Taps


Labs White Tiled Room


Lab Office


Labs Interior 1


Labs Flakey Paint Corridor


Labs Flakey Paint Corridor 2


Labs Internal Room


Labs Dark Room


Labs Dark Room Kodak Safe Light


Green Passage to Chemical Stores


Cock :) (sorry!)


Labs External 2


Chemical Stores Corridor


Chemical Stores Funky Room


Chemical Stores Funky Room2


Chemical Stores Funky Room Pics Close Up


Chemical Stores Opposite Room

To the casual observer its very easy to write this place off as being totally stripped. But its not.
There's some great detail still left in this place if you look for it, and many of the buildings remain very secure, ready to share their secrets in the future.

Thanks for looking



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