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Admiralty Test House (307)

Built: 1951
Decommissioned: ????

The first of the specialized test cells at Pyestock, the Admiralty Test House, was dedicated to the study and endurance testing of gas turbines under marine conditions. It's been said that every gas turbine type used by the Royal Navy was first put through rigorous testing in this building at Pyestock.

The environment was carefully controlled, resembling conditions at sea: marine diesel fuel oils were used (being handily stored in the adjacent tank farm) and salty, corrosive water. The turbine was then left to run, and the effects of the salt contamination, along with the corrosive effects in the combustion chamber of the marine diesel fuel were later studied. The net results were greater understanding of the effects of salt water and diesel fuels on the turbine.

Other engines were simply brought in for endurance testing and were issued with certificates upon a successful run.

The flat western aspect of the Admiralty Test House as seen from the front of the Battle Test House.
21|04|07 © Simon Cornwell 2007

Therefore the building, erected in 1951 on the east side of the Fairways Transformer Park, required little custom architecture and contained no custom machinery. It was basically a steel framed brick building, the most space devoted to the turbine hall, where the turbine under test would be moved in (winched by the crane on the overhead gantry) and connected to fuel and water feeds. Offices and a control room (which overlooked the turbine hall) occupied the windowed western side of the building ,whilst switchgear, fuel tanks and water pumps were installed in the eastern side.

The turbine hall, looking north, towards the large access doors.
23|05|07 © Simon Cornwell 2007

Like many of the test cells at Pyestock, Admiralty Test House also had its own cooling tower, water and fuel pumping house.

As turbines were simply left in here to chug away for days, there were no specialized testing equipment. So, after the last turbine was removed, it simply left the empty cell, which is what can be found today.

The stripped control room looking east towards the observation window into the turbine hall.
23|05|07 © Simon Cornwell 2007

Admiralty Test House Walkthrough...

South side of the Admiralty Test House The view north east shows the south side of the Admiralty Test House, the cooling tower and the water pumping house South western side of the Number 1 Water Pumping House South side of the Number 1 Water Pumping House The Admiralty Test House cooling towers looking north east Northern view of the turbine hall Southern view of the turbine hall Water and/or fuel tanks in the blockhouse looking north Switchgear in the blockhouse looking north Northern view of the ground floor of the office block
Southern view of the ground floor of the office block View of the ladder up to the first floor and onto the second floor Office next to the control room looking west The control room as seen looking north west The control room looking south east Walking north on the first floor spine corridor Northern staircase looking north Stairs to the second floor with loft hatch access to the third Second floor office looking south Onto the gantry of the turbine hall, view north
Northern view of turbine hall from elevated position Southern view of turbine hall from elevated position Elevated gantry looking south View of ladder down to the first floor, and then down to the ground floor

Further Reading