Report - Portsdown Main, Cosham, June 10

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lil' pezza

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Oct 24, 2009
I've Been Quite A Busy Bee

The history as taken from the Portsdown Tunnels website.

Portsdown Main is an impressive 'art deco' style building which dominates the north Portsmouth skyline and is familiar to any Portsmouth resident who would probably identify it as ASWE. Until now its history has been poorly documented due to the nature of the work which went on there.

It was designed in the 1930s (hence its style) as a building which would be located somewhere in the UK. The Second World War prevented further progress and it was eventually built on Portsdown in 1952 as an Admiralty Signals Establishment (ASE). It has been subjected to many changes during its lifetime either wholesale or with various departments coming and going. The primary changes can be summarised as:

1952 - Admiralty Signals Establishment (ASE)
Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment (ASWE)
Admiralty Research Establishment (ARE)
Defence Research Agency (DRA)
Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) - 1997

There are a total of 32 buildings on the 46 acre site built between 1946 and 1955 with Portsdown Main being the most outstanding. To the west is Fort Southwick a former Royal Navy COMMCEN. To the east are two further distinct sites on Portsdown Technology Park: an operational Ministry of Defence (MoD) establishment consisting of the Maritime Warfare Centre (MWC) and the Land-Based Test Site (LBTS); and QinetiQ Britain's largest independent science and technology company.

Portsdown Main finally closed its gates on 1 January 1997 and although there have been a number of Government departments interested in the site none have any plans to move there. On 3 October 2002 it was announced that the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) - formed by splitting DERA into DSTL and QinetiQ on 2 July 2001 - was going to move back, but this was cancelled in April 2004. It is now for sale on the open market by King Sturge the international property consultants.
After a good Half-mile walk through a field of Crops, Thistles, Stinging Nettles, Peas and Barley, Me and UrbanCreed found the entrance, a quick stroll up the hill and we we're faced with the full extent of the fire damage we'de so recently heard of, the fire damage was immense and had cleared out an entire block of office rooms.

1.The Fire-Damage From The Outside

2.The Stairwell Block

3.The Fire Damage From Inside

4.The Heat Warped The Window Frames

5.Safety Glass, Smashed Either By Vandals Or The Demolition Workers

6.Upstairs Corridor, All Doors Gone

7.We Believe It To Be A Thermometer, But If the Blades Spin It Makes A Huge Amount Of Noise

8.Sun Behind A Cloud, With A Air-Vent.

9.The Views Up There Were Phenominal

10.Ministry Of Defence Restricted Access Folders

11.Smoke Grenade, Some Sort Of Training?

12.Me And UrbanCreed, Sitting On The Stairs

13.Front View

Thanks For Looking :)

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