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Thread: Pyestock Cells 1 And 2 2007

  1. #1
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    Default Pyestock Cells 1 And 2 2007


    I've now completed my final write-up of Pyestock's key facilities and test cell areas. This work on Cells 1 and 2 finishes a body of work which started in 2006 when I crept into the site.

    That's not to say that my website is completed. Pyestock is still there and there are still opportunities to go back... now diminishing that demolition has finally started.

    See my website (www.ngte.co.uk) for more information about Pyestock including detailed write-ups and walk-throughs of the Main Stores (including the aeroplane), Power Station, Admiralty Test House, Battle Test House, Plant House, Cells 1 and 2, Air House, Cell 3, Computer Building, Cell 4, Number 9 Exhauster, Number 10 Exhauter, Cell 3 West, W.P.H. Number 10 and Monks Tunnel.


    Cells 1 & 2 (561)

    Built: 1957
    Decommissioned: 2002



    As the "new site" took shape and the futuristic steel-framed brick buildings of the Power Station, Admiralty Test House and Battle Test House were completed, building started on one of the oddest looking constructions on the site. A huge steel shed sheltered a number of buildings and two, parallel steel tubes, whilst an enormous concrete wedge-shaped structure rose up at its rear, dominating the early site.

    It was almost the complete opposite to the huge, squat blockhouse of the Plant House next to it, another example of the architectural quip that "form follows function." The Plant House was dedicated to the specialised testing of discrete components and its structure encompassed an array of testing rooms; whilst Cells 1 and 2 was designed to fire up and run a whole gas turbine and so it only required two large test cells, control room and exhaust silencer. It was also the reason why the new site was originally constructed.


    Cells 1 and 2 was the first altitude test cell to be completed at Pyestock in 1957. Tasked with the competing requirements of both free jet testing (where the engine intake performance could be tested under supersonic conditions) and connected jet testing (where the engine was connected directly to the air supply and tested for integrity and combustion), the early designers elected to build two similar, parallel test cells. Cell 1 would be used for free jet testing whilst connected jet testing would be undertaken in Cell 2. Costs were saved by sharing facilities such as fuel and water supplies, exhaust silencing and control room.

    A large steel framed shelter was built under which were located part of the tubular test cells, the brick blast-proof control room which separated them, and the fuel and water supplies. Both cells were 3.7 metres in diameter and 35 metres in length of which a 2 metre diameter section of 8 metre length was available for engine installation. Glass viewing windows led into the control room where the engine under test could be observed.

    The massive concrete exhaust stack was unique to Pyestock and allowed the exhaust gases to be vented safely and relatively silently.


    Air supplies originally came from the neighbouring Plant House but limited connections were added when the Air House was built several years later. The air could be preheated in a 3MV heater to a maximum of 350C. The minimum temperature was 70C, but extra plumbing to the Cell 3 Air Cooler, allowed this to be dropped to 30C (and during a particularly cold winter snap could be expected to drop to 10C).

    The fuel system could pump fuel to the engine under test at 16000 gal/hour at a pressure of 1500 lb/in.


    The cell had its own a re-circulating water supply for cooling the exhaust gases via direct water injection through spray nozzles. Two systems were available giving a maximum injection rate of 180000 gal/hour from the water storage tanks which had a capacity of 600,000 gallons.

    All engine test information was fed through to the on-line SDS 9300 computer (with its peripheral PDP7 for data acquisition) in the Computer Building where results could be collected and analysed. The same system was retained when the computers were upgraded to the ICL 1904S main computer and its PDP 11/10 data slave. Experimental information could also be obtained by photographic means.


    The area was originally known as the Ramjet Testing Area as ramjets were initially tested in Cell 1 but both cells were fully capable of testing gas turbines. The naming of the test cells soon reverted to Cells 1 and 2 when they became eclipsed by their successors, the massive Cell 3 and equally huge Cell 4. Cells 1 and 2 did not fall into disuse though and were used for full-scale testing of turbojet and ramjet engines and for component development work under sea level and simulated altitude conditions. It doesn't look like the cells were mothballed either (unlike Cell 4) and the upgrading of its control room suggests that it remained in use until the majority of the site closed in the early 2000s.

    Some choice shots and some not so obvious pictures of Cells 1 and 2:


    Looking north-east at the Exhaust Stack and the side of Cell 1


    General view of Cells 1 and 2 looking north-east


    Entrance to Cell 1 looking east


    Entrance to Cell 1 with both doors open, looking east


    Interior of Cell 1 and detail of thrust frame looking south


    Silencer hatch into the back of Cell 1 in the Exhaust Stack looking south


    Interior of the Exhaust Stack looking west


    On the gangway over Cell 1 looking north-west

    All the best,
    Simon

  2. Thanks given by: flyboys90, night crawler, TeeJF, UE-OMJ, UrbanX
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  4. #2
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    Cracking report,great website thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks given by: Simon
  6. #3
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    Nice report and your site is awesome very comprehensive :)

  7. Thanks given by: Simon
  8. #4
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    Greatr stuff Simon... such a comprehensive website now.
    Veni, Vidi suum custos canis admorsus meus culus...

  9. Thanks given by: Simon
  10. #5
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    Such a comprehensive report! Cracking set of photos too :)
    I know it's a popular site, but I'm so glad it's getting documented this deeply in one place.
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk
    "We're not giving you a quote for your stupid forum signature"
    - Essex Police

  11. Thanks given by: Simon
  12. #6
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    Great stuff. I wish I had the time to properly read you site in depth.
    Why go through a door when there's a perfectly good window?
    www.derelict-omj.co.uk

  13. Thanks given by: Simon
  14. #7
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    Such a shame this is now been demolished
    [B][FONT="Arial Black"] It's only illigal if your caught!!! :policeman:

  15. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigger2013 View Post
    Such a shame this is now been demolished
    It's being demolished. They've only just started. It's going to take a year.

    All the best,
    Simon

  16. #9
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    You and your website have a lot to answer for Simon! . . . in the nicest possible way ;)

    Since google led me there a couple of years ago, I have spent countless hours trawling through your pages researching the buildings and their history . . . I have sacrificed many nights of sleep in order to make the journey through the night . . . but most importantly, I have spent many epic days exploring what is still my favourite UK site - one giant adventure playground for grown-ups.

    I always tell myself the next trip will be my last, but somehow it never is . . . will certainly miss it when it's gone, but your website leaves one hell of a legacy!

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