Report - - NIRD Reading Berkshire - August 2012 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - NIRD Reading Berkshire - August 2012


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History of the National Institute for Research in Dairying

The need for farm land at agricultural research institutes is sometimes questioned. At the N.I.R.D. (National Institute for Research in Dairying) it would have been possible to carry out research on the physiology of lactation and ruminant nutrition with small numbers of cows and relatively little land, but for a substantial programme of applied research on milk production technology, large numbers of cattle at the calf, rearing and lactation stages are essential.

The move from Reading to Shinfield in 1920 provided the Institute with Church Farm. This comprised 332 acres and some traditional buildings which, with some inexpensive additions, allowed the development of a Shorthorn herd of up to 60 cows. The need for expansion of the farming activities became evident during the 1930's.

In 1945 land was relatively inexpensive and was coming on the market locally.

The first purchase was Arborfield Hall Farm in 1947 (299 acres) and although this subsequently became the home of the Bernard Weitz Centre with a new herd of 400 lactating cows, it was originally bought to provide extra sources of home-grown forage crops and to give grazing and housing for young stock. The farm is mainly situated on Valley Gravel interspersed with London Clay and at the time of purchase was in a low state of fertility. There were also signs of land drainage problems. A modest programme of drain laying coupled with the repair of Sir John Conroy's land drainage system laid a century earlier enabled most of the land to be ploughed and a cropping system developed. It was found possible to build up fertility with lucerne and this, together with subsequent introduction of forage maize, not only increased greatly forage supply in the form of hay, silages and later dried lucerne but also permitted the growing of good crops of barley.

As the history of this site is quite big, here is a link to the source of the article below.

The last time I was here was back in 2004, there was 10 acres of buildings up to 3 levels high. From its closure in the mid 80s the grounds were maintained, which stopped by about the early 90s. In my 2004 vist the site was in reasonable condition although overgrown, with power and water still connected in some buildings, and security patrols were being done. The complex mainly comprised of research labs and some cattle pens. After I was told that the site was developed for housing, I thought I might as well drive past, and found that some of the complex remains, with all but one building with its roof intact. The roofs have been taken out because of constant squatting, and the fact they were made of aspestos. Over the years the site has had a few fires, one in about 2000 damaged the 17th century mansion within the complex. This made for an interesting 3 hours on a nice sunny day, being mindful that the new housing estates were just over the fence.

1. Looking between 2 lab buildings.

2. Inside one of the labs, I think this was an admin building.

3. Part of the many labs, now stripped.

4. This was in a toilet block.

5. I'm surprised this has not been taken by pikies.

6. Old electrical casings.

7. The one building with its roof still intact.

8. Inside the center square.

9. This place was dark, something like 50 offices all windows boarded up.

10. The cattle pens.

More pics here. http://s1110.beta.photobucket.com/user/saldorri/library/NIRD



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