Report - - Ordnance Survey - Southampton - 16/07/2011 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Ordnance Survey - Southampton - 16/07/2011


I'm trying
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Parts of the old building in Romsey Road, Southampton, are crumbling away, while elsewhere there are sad, abandoned rooms that once housed paper maps – which of course were the Ordnance Survey’s raison d'être before the advent of digital technology.

It is far more than a boring office block. There are two large factory floors used for printing maps (one was in use until very recently) with barrel-vaulted northlight roofs. The staff restaurant has a very unique domed concrete shell roof. There is a large building containing vast double-height warehouses. Another building contains a staff nursery and garage for pool cars. The plant rooms are also very interesting, with a lot of 60s equipment still remaining. There are vast air handling units for the factory areas that are large enough to stand inside. Cooling towers on the roof. A combined heat and power system in the boiler house. Several OTIS lifts that are totally unmodernised and still have ancient electromechanical selector mechanisms and relay cabinets.

The future of the site is unknown. The four storey office building let to other organisations(Compass House) is likely to remain, as is Crabwood House, which is listed and will probably be converted into flats. The rest of the site will sadly probably be demolished but due to the recession, the original plan for a housing estate is unlikely to be pursued in the near future. The car park is being used for a park-and-ride.
The building was closed at the end of 2010 with the last staff leaving in the early weeks of December. The site was then handed over to Kier for development though parts of the site are still being used by other organisations such as HM Customs and Excise.

This was explored by TehCocoRico and I on Saturday. We didn't get to see all the building, because it was an incredible walk from the train station, plus a huge building, leading to us seeming to miss the good bits, yet still spend a good few hours wandering the corridors. I think that we walked down the same huge corridor that must have been about 300 metres long about 4 or 5 times. There was also a worrying moment or two when we looked out the window and saw a guard or two having a crafty cigarette around the side of the building; hence we need a return visit to find the truly impressive bits, including the roof which I couldn't work out how to access. :(

I do apologize for the sheer number of pictures, but it's the little things that make this place interesting. Along with the sheer number of pictures you'd need to fully show a workplace designed for 4000+ people!


The very first thing we saw when we got in was these huge, pretty intimidating security doors! It seems like security are allowed in some of the site, mainly the lobby, though we did come upon a 'security lounge' and ran away before we could find out if it was still being used!


We went straight up the stairs to the third floor, past the warning signs. This place was filled with them, mainly about Asbestos!


From the windows on the third floor you get an impressive view across the top of the infamous slanted rooves.


From the other side of the building you could see out to the side gates and the Park and Ride car-park.


We walked along through the 'Product Management' section of the offices.




We found lots of interesting office features in here.


Have you ever seen a wall that can talk before? I have now!


I'm forever going to wish I'd been there when it was deemed this sign was neccesary...


At the end of the corridor was a little office kitchen area, with a mirror leaving a nice photo opportunity..


We ended up in this huge corridor, the one we got lost down several times... I think you can see why, though!


There were a few notice boards down this corridor, nothing of huge interest, but it must have taken a while to accumulate that much on the notice board...


We also found a board that was used to show the progress of the site this was left for; Adnac Park.


From the third floor we headed up. The rest of the floors were pretty much the same. The only interesting ones were the ground and lower ground floors.


On the top floor we found this somewhat worrying note.


We then found what I think is something to do with the air-flow system in the building, on an attempt at the roof.

We then went back down to the third floor as it seemed a safe level, after being unable to access the roof. It must be possible, but it just didn't work for us today. :(


Back on the third floor, on about the fourth walk down this corridor I found this interesting sign. Half tempted to call and see what it said...


We then walked the few miles, or so it seemed, to the front of the building.


Nice views of the site outside the front


We decided to head for the basement. The first floor had these doors...
There's something wrong here....


The ground floor had one of a few working lifts we saw. Would have been lovely to be able to use them in a building this size...


Down in the basement we first stumbled upon the archives


We then found a huge long corridor which must have had about 50 'inspirational' quotes. Some more so than others..


Along this corridor there was also a fire escape hatch. Seeming to lead to a tunnel or ladder or something? I know some of the building links to Compass House next door, so maybe this too?


The only other thing on the ground floor was the fire alarm system
Chloe insisted a photo was needed as it had FAP on it...

All in all a pretty decent explore. A lack of security, more time and a few maps (of the site :p) would have helped though!
A return is certainly needed to see the rest of the building, namely the boilers, roof and printing rooms, amongst other.

Thanks for looking!


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