Virtual Tour
The Buildings
Urban Exploration
Pyestock Diaries


home | history | naming


What was the name of this establishment? Delving briefly into its history reveals a multitude of different titles and companies, further disguised as unpronounceable acronyms. This section lists the various titles and holding companies, and also gives some of the meanings behind the names.

RAE Turbine Division: 1926 - 1944

Founded in 1926 as the turbine research division of the RAE. Initial progress slow and limited to component testing until Whittle's successful demonstration of a gas turbine for jet engines spurred new research and the eventual permission to build a dedicated test station at Pyestock.

Power Jets Limited: 1936 - 1944

Formed by Whittle in 1936 to research and produce gas turbines for jet propulsion using the ideas put forth in his patent application. The company successfully demonstrated their first gas turbine in 1937 and were granted permission in 1941 to build a manufacturing plant at Whetstone.

Power Jets (R&D) Limited: 1944 - 1946

By 1944, the RAE Turbine Division and Power Jets Limited are the dominant companies doing research into gas turbine technology. Realising the national urgency involved, the government nationalise and combine the two companies with its headquarters at Pyestock.

National Gas Turbine Establishment (NGTE): 1946 - 1983

The newly nationalised company is brought into the civil service under the control of the Ministry Of Supply. It is still split (with the headquarters at Pyestock and the egineering/test departments at Whetstone so plans are drawn up for a new site to consolodate all facilities in one place. A new site is proposed at Pyestock with building starting in the late 1940s, and the site ready in 1955.

Huge expansion took place in the 1960s as new test cells are built for the testing of the next generation of supersonic gas turbines.

Further building and expansion takes place in the 1970s as the Anechoic Chamber is added to the site.

(The site also becomes known as the lethargic Never Get Too Energetic and the St. Trinian's evoking Naughty Girls Training Establishment).

RAE Pyestock: 1983 - 1991

Lord Strathlona undertakes a review of all MOD research establishments. The result is the transfer of the site, its six research departments and the propulsion department to the MOD.

DRA Pyestock: 1991 - 1992

The site is transferred into private ownership, under the control of the Defence Research Agency (which had its headquarters at Pyestock). It is decided to split the company, and the testing of the site, into two.

DGT&E Pyestock: 1992 - 1995

The MOD controlled Directorate General Test and Evaluation take over the running of the altitude test cells and the engineering support functions.

DRA Pyestock: 1992 - 1995

Whilst the Defence Research Agency keep control of the engine research facilities.

DERA Pyestock: 1995 - 2001

The split into two companies proves difficult and inefficient so the two are combined under the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency and run by the MOD.

QinetiQ Pyestock: 2001 - 2004

The privatisation of the DERA results in the site becoming part of the publically owned QinetiQ.

Hartland Park: 2004 -

QinetiQ terminate the engine test business and sell the Pyestock site to Astra Developments for 54 million. Astral propose the demolition of the redundant Pyestock site to make way for a new Tescos mega depot; and rename the location "Hartland Park".

Further variations on these names are common, with other permutations being "NGTE Pyestock", "Pyestock New Site" and "Pyestock North".