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Report - - Portsdown Naval Fuel Bunker, Hampshire - September 2020 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Portsdown Naval Fuel Bunker, Hampshire - September 2020


LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
History:
The Portsdown Underground Fuel Bunker, in Hampshire, was built during the late 1930s by Sir Robert McAlpine's construction company, as a bombproof oil reservoir to serve the Royal Navy fleet at the base in Portsmouth.
This underground storage facility played a vital role in Britain's naval defence, as the oil was needed as a guaranteed supply for Royal Navy warships in case deliveries to western British seaports were blockaded by the German Navy, which was quite a common technique.
There were three others like this constructed throughout the U.K, however, Portsdown is one of the largest of the three, and also one of the best-preserved remaining examples. Portsdown was capable of holding up to around 180,000 tons of oil in 9 concrete storage tanks, each 35ft high. The walls of the bunkers are made of concrete at a depth of 1ft in thickness, and in places the roof is 22 feet thick. This resulted in the bunker being essentially impenetrable from airborne attack, as no German bomb produced during WW2 was capable of reaching such a level of penetration.
It is beleived that the Fuel Bunkers had a special purpose and was not just constructed to supply the Royal Navy with fuel during wartime, but more to ensure an absolutely uninterruptible supply of fuel oil for the D-day invasion fleet of 6 June 1944.
This underground facility remained operational during the second world war, and also throughout the duration of the cold war, however, due to the Cold War ending, the pipeline and Fuel Bunker were decommissioned during the early 1990s, and remained empty, ever since.

Map of the network

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The Explore:
I'd left it a while before finally making a report on this place, and that's purely because I'd had other and less trodden places to write about, however, I think it's about time I finally throw it out there, after all, it didn't half make for a bad afternoon...
After seeing snippets from this place several times here and there for the past four years, myself and good mates @Slippin_Jimm and @Sprackles finally thought we'd head to Hampshire for a look ourselves, seeing as it was open at the time, and we all knew full well it wouldn't be the case for long. In fact, just two days after our visit, photos began to emerge of our entry point being demolished, making us all the more grateful we chose to go when we did.
So, having climbed through an oil-soaked hole in what was then the northern compound blockhouse, we were in, and it was time for things to get somewhat greasy.


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At the point where the staircase in the above photo meets the top platform, there was a rather well kept mini air-raid shelter, however, with myself being a little too eager to see the engine room downstairs, I neglected to take any photos. And so, it was downwards and onwards.
Despite having seen multiple photos from this particular section, I think it goes without saying that nobody can truly appreciate the nature of somewhere without actually being there, and in this instance, that was certainly the case. There's probably enough oil left down there to keep your motor on the road for years.


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Now, having surpassed the fuelly depths of the engine room, we made our way into the main tunnels, (which if we're honest) are probably the most photogenic areas of this place. Although, admittedly, we came somewhat ill prepared, and never made it into the fuel storage tanks, which I suppose is the main event essentially.
Fortunatly, we were able to rattle off a fair few shots elsewhere.

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With this section proving to be a much of a muchness, we made our way back to the point we'd entered via the engine room and began to walk down towards the southern compound, also to see how viable it could be for a possible entry point in the future. Now, I don't usually have much to say in regards to graffiti, but this place certainly does make it somewhat harder to snap a decently exposed photo without having highlight blowouts on the chalk lettering.

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And that, was that, this was certainly one of the more well trodden places I've explored as I say, however, with one of the most used entry points being now nothing but rubble, it's uncertain just how long it'll be before this particular place becomes possible again.
However, and on a more personal note, although I'm sure there's others who feel the same, but the way the council simply decided to destroy an integral section of this location that once played a key role in the defence of Britain is downright wrong. I'll never understand how some people simply take it upon themselves to decide which pieces of British history to save and what pieces to destroy... food for thought.

Thanks for looking
 

Attachments

Scoobysrt

Stay in, save lives.
Regular User
Well covered mate, sounds a good job you got in when you did, does that mean the air raid shelter is probably gone now?
 

Down and beyond

From the land of the pillar and stall
Regular User
Interesting place you captured it well ! , what was you missing to make it to the other stuff then ?
 

Ste1000

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Access to this place will probably be opened up once more from the front doors.
At that point I guess thay will cover it with concrete like they did at the rear entrance.
Wonder if someone will try to dig there way in at the top, you can see where the entrance was as they put a small air vent there.
When I first got in this place the power was still on and the lights worked, shame it got so trashed.
The WW2 tunnels entrance in cliffdale Gardens has been bricked up now as people were cutting the locks off.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Another great report. Well lite and comprehensive too. It looks like a good explore. Quite big? Good job you went when you did. You get everywhere & work full time Kudos :thumb
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
Access to this place will probably be opened up once more from the front doors.
At that point I guess thay will cover it with concrete like they did at the rear entrance.
Wonder if someone will try to dig there way in at the top, you can see where the entrance was as they put a small air vent there.
When I first got in this place the power was still on and the lights worked, shame it got so trashed.
The WW2 tunnels entrance in cliffdale Gardens has been bricked up now as people were cutting the locks off.
Ahhh mate, this place has been opened and closed so many times now it’s ridiculous, I’ve no doubt it’ll be open again sometime, but I reckon it’ll be a fair while yet.
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
Another great report. Well lite and comprehensive too. It looks like a good explore. Quite big? Good job you went when you did. You get everywhere & work full time Kudos :thumb
Aye cheers :) come to think of it I do get about a fair bit, nowhere near us much as some folk, but there’s still plenty out there to see :) definitely one of the bigger networks I’ve been too
 

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