The Fernhurst research station was opened in 1945 as a sure to research pest and disease control. It initially specialised in horticulture and crops with orchards for plums and apples.
At first it was owned by ICI Plant Protection and then bought over by Zeneca in 1994 and later Syngenta, who left the site in December 2001. All of these companies are part of the agrochemical industry so the site has been used since its opening as a research centre based around weed killer and the protection of crops.
It was visited by Price Phillip in 1955 and Margaret Thatcher opened an International Conference Centre in 1986.
The site was sold off in 2007 to AzkoNobel but it has been left untouched still. However an article posted in March 2020 highlights that new plans have been given the go ahead to turn the site and parts of the attached headquarters for Aspinall’s of London to be turned into new homes and a retail area.
So we’d been to the site a couple of times before but mainly in the dark, so we decided to just check the surroundings. We then ventured back earlier on in the day to utilise the natural light due to the long corridors. However, due to still going in the evening time light wasn’t on our side so our explore was relatively short, armed only with iPhone lights and as the corridors are filled with doors laid on the floor and what look to be slabs piled up we didn’t fancy falling onto the shards of glass that were everywhere.
Outside in the unused car park is the burnt out Jaguar that we’d seen in reports before so we had to check it out.
Once inside the seemingly never ending corridors highlight just how big the site is. With rooms coming off both sides they stretch the length of the building. All three floors have the same layout with the maze like corridors of rooms stretching out into the distance. From the top floor the roof is also easily accessible with some helpful graffiti giving directions to find the ladders up.
Due to failing light we didn’t venture completely through but spent an hour or so walking round the areas that were well lit by natural light and some of the areas our phone lights would allow us to see into. We found toilets, 3 different sets of stairwells all leading to the 3 floors, a lift shaft with the doors still intact and what could have been old offices, but due to the vandalism it’s hard to gauge what they could really have been. A lot of the place has been gutted with most of it in the outhouses in the car parks, but still an interesting explore nonetheless.