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Battle Test House (543): Then And Now

The Battle Test House was Pyestock’s boiler house, named as the boilers were taken from HMS Namur, a Battle class cruiser. Two boilers were originally installed, with another admiralty boiler added at a later date.

Steam produced in the boilers was used for power generation, kick starting the Air House GEC sets, driving the steam turbine in Compressor Test Facility and providing heat for many of the buildings.

The boiler house closed in 1993 when the fifty year old boilers proved uneconomic to refurbish.

The Battle Test House was almost as striking as the Air House with its three gigantic blue smoke stacks rising out of the two storey glass-and-steel building. However, these have since been removed, leaving three circular stumps on the roof of the building.

The only other apparent change was the replacement of the old Stanton 7 concrete street lighting columns with their GEC lanterns for sleek aluminium columns sporting Thorn lights.

The N.G.T.E. Boiler House

Cell 1 & 2 and the Battle Test House as seen from the Admiralty Test House.
23|05|07 © Simon Cornwell 2007

The cramped interior of Battle Test House provided little opportunity for framing the large plant squashed inside it. The original photographer took a snap of the boiler front with its associated control panel. After looking through my collection of shots, the only one partially matching was one of just the boiler’s control panel. Again, it appears to have hardly changed.

One of the N.G.T.E. boiler fronts

Control panel for boiler #1. It's situated on the main corridor behind the boiler. Looking east.
21|04|07 © Simon Cornwell 2007

Two boilers were removed from HMS Namur and driven on flat-bed trucks to Pyestock This archive shot shows one of the boilers navigating the turn by PineHurst Corner in Farnborough.

The popular cafe was demolished and replaced by a car-park.

One of the boilers being transported through Farnborough

The same view today

The Compressor Test Facility was built in 1953 to utilise the high pressure steam from the boilers. (It was added to Battle to reduce pressure and temperature losses from the steam). In this shot, the double-ended Brush turbine has been connected to two compressor test rigs.

The room became extremely cramped over the years, but the old turbine is still in-situ, as can be seen in this comparison shot.

The Brush steam turbine installation in the compressor test facility.

An alternative view in 2007 which also shows the Brush steam turbine.

One of the two HMS Namur boilers being set in concrete at Pyestock. Battle Test House was then constructed around them.

Power Station Then And Now Page Admiralty Test House