March 11, 2014 | Posted in 4Sevens, arches, Bunker, Civil Defence, laser, MoD, Nuclear, Quark RGB, secret bunker, Shadow Factory, Underground, vent shaft | By sYnc
Got stuff spread around a bit at the moment due to ‘storage issues’ so often forget I have squirreled things away on various portable hard drives…found these three from early 2013 on yet another visit to Drakelow RGHQ 9.2
We’d seen all there was to see so spent time pissing about with a Quark RGB and one of those shitty cheap Chinese Green Lasers, don’t think it looks that great but here it is anyway, along with an ok Roadway shot that made itself to a calendar page this year…
August 2, 2012 | Posted in airfield, Avionics, Bunker, Cold War, DSLR, EOS, F-111, HAAS, Lenser, Long Exposure, Nuclear, RAF, secret bunker, Spy plane, Strategic Air Command, USAAF, WW2 | By sYnc
Carrying on with the Mil Derp Cold War vibe from earlier posts…..enjoy
Bulk Fuel Storage (WW2)
Briefing Room (Badly lightpainted…)
Flora & Fauna 🙂
Building 25 – Decontamination Area
More rush lightpainting (soz about passing headtorches…)
Better this time…(shot in total darkness)
Building 25 Hard Area
Parachute Store (Building 51)
Photographic Processing and Interpretation Facility (Building 69)
November 14, 2011 | Posted in 17th Reconnaissance Wing, Alconbury, Area 51, Avionics, Building 210, Bunker, Cold War, Lockheed, Magic Mountain, Nuclear, Skunkworks, Spy plane, USAAF Station 102 | By sYnc
Ok, long overdue, some full on Cold War action for you…
In the 1950’s Skunkworks (Lockheed Advanced Development Projects) created a single engined, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft to be used in the Cold War to help determine Soviet capabilities and intentions. Elements of previous Lockheed designs such as the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter were incorporated to build what became the Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane (and later the TR-1). The first live flight was in August 1955 at Area 51 in Nevada and soon a variety of intelligences packages were developed for use with the plane that could be switched around depending on the mission (Interchangeable nose sections were fitted with large format cameras, radar and other cutting edge surveillance equipment). They flew so high that the pilot had to wear a space suit and breath bottled oxygen.
When the USAAF 17th Reconnaissance Wing was activated the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron was formed at RAF Alconbury bringing with them a fleet of TR-1 Spy planes. Building 210 was the Avionics and Photography Interpretation Centre for the TR-1/U2 Spy plane taking two years to build at a cost of $39 million and was later given the nickname Magic Mountain. The building was linked to various other US bases and also to the Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska.
Inside the stainless steel lined entrance corridor are a series of large rooms with raised access flooring for computer cabling. Building 210 has its own power plant, closed air conditioning, decontamination chambers, water supply and sewage systems. A Positive Air Pressure system was used to prevent any fallout or poisonous gas getting inside the facility. The bunker is on two floors and built of steel and reinforced concrete, sitting on a bed of gravel and giant ‘spring coils’ allowing the structure to shift during an attack and absorbing the impact. Allegedly it could withstand a direct hit from a nuclear bomb.
The political situation changed in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall and within six months of opening Magic Mountain was obsolete. By July 1991 the USAAF 17th Reconnaissance Wing was deactivated and by 1993 the entire base was handed back to the MoD.
On this visit I could not gain access to the subterranean bunker itself so you will have to make do with the few photo’s I could get, I will however be going back so watch this space…
October 27, 2011 | Posted in Bunker, Nuclear, Random | By sYnc
This is for when the radio is broken and crackles like uranium orchids
This is for when the föhn-wind rattles the telegraph wires like a handful of bones
This is for when dream ambulances skitter through the streets at midnight
This is for when you get caught in a sleep-riot and the sky is out of order
This is for when your sex is full of voodoo
This is for when your clothes are imaginary
This is for when your flesh creeps and never comes back.
Things are quiet here, not trapped and dead under a roof collapse deep in a mine, just not much exploring going on. There has however been lots of research, chasing down leads and lifting lids so to speak so hopefully there’ll be something of interest for you soon…
In the meantime here’s some random stuff found laying round on one of the hard disks that I don’t think has seen the light of day.
P.S Hi to the readers in far flung places like Latvia, Russia, Iran, Australia, Canada and the USA….thanks for reading !!
June 24, 2011 | Posted in Bunker, Nuclear, ROC, Royal Observer Corp, Royal Observer Corps, Watford | By sYnc
Finally and as promised some Cold War content for you…Watford ROC Group HQ opened on 18th November 1961, finished operationally in 1968 and closed in 1973 before being sold in 1974. These days the site is owned by the Park Veterinary Centrewho’s surgery and offices are sited in theWW2 ROC buildings on the main road and use the bunker at the rear of the site for storage.Many original items have been stripped over the years but a vast amount of original features are still intact so it was well worth a visit.
April 1, 2011 | Posted in ARP, British Steel, Bunker, Civil Defence, Cobalt 60, Corby, corus, facebook, isotope, Nuclear, PDRM82, PLUTO, radiation, secret bunker, Steelworks, stewarts lloyds, tata steel, underground hospital, WW2, x-ray | By sYnc
First of all apologies for some of the photo’s, some of these are among the worst I have ever taken. If you read the report you will see why I can’t go back and retake them, this reason also justifies their use here.
Plenty of people visit this site, write inaccurate reports and often wrongly referred to it as a ‘Secret’ Nuclear Bunker, the reality is much more boring than that and confusion also arises due to its many uses over the last 60 years.I thought I would make an attempt to set the record straight and dig up some history of this brilliant site which the local chav scum have sadly slowly trashed in recent years.
Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd moved to Corby, Northamptonshire in November 1932, enabling them to make use of the local iron ore to feed their blast furnaces and Bessemer steel converters. The new construction was carried out to a very tight timetable, from the clearing of the site in 1933 the first of the Corby blast furnaces was lit in May the following year. This was followed by coke from the new coke ovens the following month and the ore preparation and sinter plants in September. No.2 blast furnace was lit in November and the first steel came from the Bessemer converters on 27th December. The last of the originally planned blast furnaces (No.3) was lit in October 1935. Following a rebuild to increase capacity of No.2 furnace Corby works became the third cheapest pig iron producing plant in the world.
After the outbreak of World War II, much of the output was war-related. Possibly the biggest contribution of the works to the war effort was PLUTO, the Pipe Line Under The Ocean
, a pipeline built, following the D-Day landings to supply fuel for the invading forces. Almost 1,000 miles of steel tubes went into the project.
Incidentally, and creeping Off Topic, they built and named a Pub in Corby called The Pluto as a tribute, it became yet another violent drinking establishment and was eventually demolished 🙂
Another large Stewarts & Lloyds contribution was the 15,000 miles of tube, used for the construction of beach defences, and which was covered with barbed wire, and other, more dangerous obstructions, known as “Wallace Swords”. A total of over 275,000 miles (about 2,5 million tons) of tube were produced for war-related work during the 1939-45 period.
During World War 2 the Corby steel works were expected to be a major target for German bombers but in reality there were only a few bombs dropped by solitary planes and there were no reported casualties. This may be because the whole area was blanketed in huge dense black, low lying clouds created artificially by the intentional burning of oil and latex to hide the glowing Bessemer converter furnaces at the steel works from German bomber crews. There are also some fairly reliable reports that a proper QF Decoy site may have existed at Geddington Chase to protect the Works.
In the early 1940’s as a result of this very real threat the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) constructed an underground Control Centre for the workforce of Stewarts & Lloyds and it was used until the end of the war as well as housing the Stewarts & Lloyds ARP ambulance. The Control Centre comprised of two entrances in case of bomb damage, a central turntable to rotate the ambulance and send it out via the opposite entrance, 4 chemical toilets, a Plotting Room and Signals Room (with interconnecting message hatches), Messengers Room, Telephone Exchange linked to Radio Room, Control Room, Generator Room and a Ventilation Plant.
It shut in 1944 but re-opened in 1951 as a Civil Defence Headquarters for Stewarts & Lloyds and also as Sub Divisional Control for Northamptonshire Civil Defence (there are still some laminated door panels for this laying around the site to this day – see pix below). Also during this time it acted as one of many First Aid Posts across the Steelworks site and still had an ambulance garaged there. My Father In Law who used to work for Stewarts & Lloyds ‘thinks’ he remembers going in there for treatment on a number of occasions and it might be stories like this that led to inaccurate rumours of it being an underground hospital propagating.
When the Civil Defence Scheme was wound down in the late 60’s the site was used for Stewarts & Lloyds Research & Development and almost everything remaining in the site today relates to this, apart from the odd piece of telecoms and switching equipment. A large amount of radiography equipment can be found and was used to X-ray iron castings and steel fabrication, the floors are still littered with tube samples and castings. In the 1958 edition of Corby Works (published by Stewarts & Lloyds) there is a chapter on The Department of Research and Technical Development where it says ‘Use is made of the most modern equipment, as this becomes available, and in particular, includes modern spectrographs, equipment for vacuum fusion analysis of gases in steel, equipment for high frequency induction melting under controlled conditions of atmosphere and pressure, apparatus for the identification of compounds, space lattice measurements, and internal stress determination by X-ray crystallography, gamma ray testing of welds using new isotopes from Harwell, and the latest designs of creep testing equipment working under temperature controlled conditions’. Add to this Jib Testing and Weld Testing for the many Ransomes & Rapier Walking Draglines that worked in the various Ironstone Quarries in Corby.
The original main entrance was destroyed in 1975 when the A43 was widened and turned into a Dual Carriageway, the entrance tunnel was backfilled and part way down a double course brick wall was built. Recent, ‘intellectually challenged’ visitors have made an attempt to breach this wall in true Darwin Award
style without doing their homework, if they had they would clearly see where the sealed entrance actually comes out and also see there is about 100 tonnes of rubble between the two points, thus saving them a few quid on their cheap B&Q hammers and chisels…
The end of Stewarts & Lloyds ownership ceased in 1967 when the steel industry was nationalised for the second time and they became part of the British Steel Corporation. Due to the high cost and low quality of local iron ore coming out of the quarries and mines, steel production at Corby was set to close in November 1979. This was delayed until 21 May 1980, due to the national steel strike, when the last coil came off the strip mills. In nearly 40 years of steel production they had produced almost 2.5 million tons of steel. By the end of 1981 5000 people were unemployed almost overnight as a result of the closure and by the end of the 80’s this figure reached 11,000. Most of the original 5 square mile site was demolished during the 1980’s to make way for the Corby you see today (Phoenix Retail Park
and Phoenix Park Way Industrial Estate) but thankfully due to its location this site survived.
On the 6th October 1999 the Corus Group was formed through the merger of Koninklijke Hoogovens and British Steel and the Tubeworks continued at the site. On Tuesday, 27 July 2004 in an ironic twist the BBC ran a story
about new owners Corus making an appeal for information about the ‘secret World War II bunker’ as they didn’t know what the underground tunnels were for 🙂
Not long after this the original gates were replaced by a very heavy duty permanent grille, welded to the walls.
In 2007 Corus was acquired by Indian company Tata and on 27 September 2010 Corus announced it was changing its name to Tata Steel Europe and adopting the Tata corporate identity.
These days after several fires, one badly burning out what was originally the Messengers & Liason room, and local morons getting in there and smashing things up the site is in quite a sorry state. The original (sealed) main entrance tunnel is full of items dumped from various decades but if you take the time to look there’s still some interesting things scattered about.
We took a couple of Plessey PDRM82’s in there and tried really hard to get any sort of reading at all from every single room and piece of equipment but the display didn’t register anything. I know they are not the most sensitive devices for background radiation but its probably safe to ignore all the scaremongering that has been reported about this site.
Original Main Entrance
Castell remote locking switch
Phillips DXI Portable X-Ray Unit
Linderode Saturn Spark Erosion machine
Linderode Saturn Spark Erosion machine
Phillips DXI Portable X-Ray Unit
Phillips DXI Portable X-Ray Unit
Old Telephone Exchange
Large Carl Drenck ‘Fedrex’ X-Ray Tube
Original Control Room
Isotope Trolley (Generator Room)
Original Ventilation Plant Room
Generator Room Blast Doors
British Contamination Meter, No. 1 set
A week before Christmas 2010 the ARP Control Centre was completely welded shut (see last two pictures below), oh and someone stole the nice 1940’s light from outside…
November 10, 2010 | Posted in Bunker, Nuclear, ROC, Royal Observer Corps | By sYnc
Here is the rest of the pictures from Maidstone – 1 Group ROC HQ, as mentioned in the previous blog post time was very very tight so the pictures were rushed, apologies for this.
These remaining shots are of the Plant Room, escape hatches and rooftop.
November 9, 2010 | Posted in Bunker, Nuclear, ROC, Royal Observer Corps | By sYnc
Maidstone – 1 Group ROC HQ was built in 1959 and opened on the 25th June 1960 on an existing site for 1 Group Royal Observer Corps that had been operational since 1939.
Maidstone was part of the Metropolitan Sector, along with Horsham, Oxford, Colchester and Winchester. Each Group HQ controlled between 20 and 30 ROC Posts and collated data from all of these sites at five minute intervals. The information was then logged and plotted at the HQ where they would produce fallout predictions based on current weather conditions, log the detonation type (burst height) and location/yield before disseminating this information out to other locations such as UKWMO HQ, Regional Government Headquarters and other military sites.
Since closure in 1992 1 Group ROC HQ has been owned by a local Solicitors who until recently used the structure for archive storage.
It is of the same design as all of the ROC Group HQ’s in that its construction is of a semi sunken type, containing a totally sealed environment for ROC staff to operate in during operations. This particular Group HQ is in very good condition with all of the plant, filtration and ventilation systems intact and most likely operational. Recently the HQ has had a new roof fitted in order to try and combat the obvious damp issues the structure has.
Time was extremely limited at this location so the photo’s were very rushed, apologies for any poor shots!! (I’ve already dumped 70+…)
August 26, 2010 | Posted in Bunker, FSM, Nuclear, Observation Post, ROC, Royal Observer Corp, Royal Observer Corps | By sYnc
Opened – Unknown
Closed – October 1968
There isn’t too much that can be said about this post as you can see from the pictures. I’m not entirely sure when it was capped with concrete and steel bar but its at least 15 years ago, also I’m not sure if it is just a cap or in fact they poured rubble down the shaft and topped it with concrete. If I run out of things to do before I die I might go back with a large can of PlusGas and ‘FSM Cam’ it just out of idle curiosity.
Great location geographically with great vision all round, or certainly would have been before the odd building and trees that have sprang up since the 1950’s. Bedford is one of those unusual counties with very few ROC Posts, despite the fact that Bedford ROC Group HQ No 7 was the HQ for the UKWMO Midlands Sector, covering many more counties at the time.
Nature has certainly claimed back this post…
August 12, 2010 | Posted in Bunker, FSM, Nuclear, Observation Post, PDRM82, Plessey, ROC, Royal Observer Corps | By sYnc
Back at the start of the Cold War the first mass produced Civil Defence Geiger Counter was the Geiger-Müller counter Meter, Contamination, No. 1 set – stock number 5CG0012, of 1953. You still see these from time to time and many remained in use into the 1980’s. It was replaced in 1956 by the British Radiac Survey Meter No 2 which was adopted by the Royal Observer Corps until they took delivery of the better known and specifically built Fixed Survey Meter.
In 1982 Plessey Controls introduced the PDRM82 Portable Dose Rate Meter and this became standard issue for both Civil Defence and Military applications, a special version was created for the Royal Observer Corps, the PDRM82(F) which had an external Coax cable allowing connection to an above ground ionisation detector which ran up the FSM Tube to a polycarbonate dome.
Surprisingly these are allegedly still standard Military Issue today, despite significant advances in technology!!
We recently bought a couple on eBay for exploring a site that in the past was known for having ‘radioactive content’ but despite coming across very real evidence of radioactive items, including Cobalt-60 storage, we could not get even the faintest reading anywhere at the site….kind of good really as had the PDRM82 ‘lit up’ we would have been a bit freaked out….