Report - - Ordnance Survey, Southampton, September 2011 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Ordnance Survey, Southampton, September 2011


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A little history: Ordnance Survey moved to this brand new, purpose-built head office, which was officially opened by The Queen in 1969 and was originally designed for 4 000 staff. While it looks like a standard 1960s office block from outside, it originally had vast production and storage areas for map production, including photographic labs, room-sized cameras, printing and folding/casing of maps. By the year 2000, Ordnance Survey had shrunk due to technological developments in both drawing and printing maps. A vast area of the building used for reprographic purposes was redundant and converted to a very impressive conference/exhibition centre around 2000 and one of the admin blocks (North Block/Compass House) was let out to another organisation.

In March 2011, Ordnance Survey finally let go of the building, its 1 100 odd staff having moved a mile or so up the road to another brand new, purpose-built office but the printing operations were outsourced entirely, ending around 200 years of printing maps in-house. The site is now owned by Kier and demolition is inevitable. Compass House is the only part of the building to remain and very recently, the link between it and the main building has been severed.

More history is available on t'Internet: http://ourwiki.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/OurWiki/index.php/Maybush

This was my third visit to the site, the previous two resulting in me getting very few decent photos. I have a new camera now and the results are a lot better.


Innards of a 1960s lift control cabinet, they certainly don't make 'em like this any more.


Floor selector of the 'A' lift.


More lift machinery


Lift motor room. The large green thing is a motor-generator set, this converts AC to DC electricity for the lift motor.


I'm not sure why there is a telephone in the plant room.


I'm not sure what a wheelbarrow is doing in there either.


The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th floors of the main building are all like this. Not very interesting really, once you've seen one, you've seen them all.


The obligatory lavatorial photo.


The chill-out zone. CSC is the Customer Service Centre so the staff must have got quite stressed dealing with awkward customers.


One of the toilet/stairs lobbies with fab 60s lino.


This was attached to an electrical fusebox. How random.


Room C556, empty except for one lonely chair. It had to be done.


F2 lift, on the 6th floor. This one appears to still be working.


Air filters and an office fan, in the penthouse on top of West Block.


Electrician's store in the aforementioned penthouse. There's a much more interesting one downstairs but didn't get the chance to see that.


This large air conditioning plant was used for the main computer room until about seven years ago.


Chilled water pipes I assume, this is for the aforementioned air conditioning plant.


Room W404, in West Block. This has been empty for the last five years or so due to reduced staff numbers. It was originally the main computer room but was converted to offices when a new one was built. I like the woodland photos on the walls.


Plant room adjacent to W404. I've never been able to work out exactly what this is for. It may have been the air conditioning plant for the old computer room. Never mind, the bigger question on my mind is why there is a coat rack in the plant room.


Control panel with coloured lights, yaay! I think this is also something to do with the air conditioning for the 4th floor of West Block.


Large ventilation fan and a steam humidifier (I think) that is very much 'decommissioned '.


The obligatory chair in the plant room. Every plant room seems to have a chair or several.


This is the main computer room (W407) and as you can tell from the very 70s colour scheme for the floor tiles, this was built in the mid-70s. I'm not sure what the racks on the left are for but the ones on the right are where the network cables going all around the building terminate.


The server room.


I have always been intrigued by this 'Spirograph' machine. It monitors the temperature and humidity in the server room but clearly needs a new paper disc.


Server room. I spent many hours working in here, changing the backup tapes on a daily basis.


Some more chairs.


G lift motor room. This one is definitely still working as the fans in the controller are quite noisy. I much prefer the 60s equipment, the new stuff is boring.


Historical Mapping Archive. This was emptied last year and the content disposed of to various organisations and waste paper contractors. I am not going to air my opinion on this as I am probably not allowed to but let's just say there is some consternation about the subject and people who worked in that area have different stories from the official line.


The lonely chair in the Historical Mapping Archive.

Unfortunately, I was caught in here by a security guard and escorted off the premises. It is somebody who used to work there and knows the building very well. He has since contacted me and said that all doors have been checked and are now locked. I am also on CCTV entering the building. There are also PIRs in there and that is how they were alerted to my presence.

This is disappointing, as there were loads of areas I couldn't see. I do have loads more photos if anyone wants to see them, just let me know by replying to this as I am still a 'New Member'.

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