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Thread: Government Animal Testing Facility - Houghton Grange. April 2010

  1. #1
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    Arrow Government Animal Testing Facility - Houghton Grange. April 2010


    I’ve struggled to find much history on this place. It seems the government have no interest in publishing any history of the site, and locals are extremely cagey to even talk about it at all.

    The site is massive, I’ve heard quotes of around 100 acres all in, which seems about right. A recent planning application proposes to re-develop on 10 of those Hectares into housing.

    On Google maps I’ve counted around 75 buildings, mainly labs, but also houses, canteens, workshops, boiler houses etc.

    Most of the labs were for poultry, and are arranged in rows, forming streets like this:


    Internally, most were set around an open courtyard:


    The cells were bare and practical: Waterproofed floors falling to a gully, with a single incoming pipe for water, a hatch for food, and metal fixings for cages.


    Some on the labs were completely covered, they all however share rows upon rows of numbered sinister blue doors:


    Just one of the many large open courtyards:


    Admin building (one of many):


    Despite all of the floors being in mint condition, and the windows still boarded, the roof was completely missing. Well, I say missing, most of it was on the first floor:




    “Safe Innit” It had a key in the lock, unfortunately not the key to this safe.


    Another ‘street’ of labs. Although much like a real street the buildings are all of varying ages and constructions.


    The site can be navigated using the helpful signage:


    Laboratory X

    Exploring an abandoned “Government Animal Testing Facility” one expects to find some pretty unpleasant things. By now we’d wandered through maybe fifty labs, and so far nothing too appalling or shocking…until we came across this building.

    We entered through a small crack in a door. The building had been completely boarded up, and was in darkness, this had created a pinhole camera effect. This was amplified further by the fact that our image was being projected onto a convex acrylic screen, creating a massive Camera Obscura, showing a live image of three men entering the building. Really Bizarre.

    It was a lot more secure than the rest, not in an urbex sense, but in the ‘in-use’ sense.


    Each of the cells had these convex viewing panels. Next to the viewing panel you can see the thick steel cell doors. These were triple locked (big, big locks). These led through a double airlock system, to a shower area which you have to pass through to get to the locked cell.


    Looking out:


    Retro-sterilising / vacuum machine. It’s easy to forget that you’re standing in a building which has lain derelict for 20 years.
    Note also although the grille has fallen open, there is another behind it…and another behind that.
    Whatever went on here, they really didn’t want anyone, or anything getting in - or out.




    We began to notice that this lab was worryingly more ‘self-contained’ that the others. It was the only one with it’s own incinerators, and ‘post-mortems’ room.



    All of the key switches sit in the same position they were left in in 1989. The Lambada had just broken into the UK top 10.


    Soap still on the sink, 20 year old soap in the dispenser:


    There are a couple of reports which were written at Houghton Grange available through either Harvard or Cambridge University (at £13 each). The abstracts are free, and most of them seem to be poo related. My favourite being “Incidence of Salmonellae in Faeces of dogs suffering from distemper” - H. Williams Smith 1950.



    I think it’s time to leave. I need to clear my thoughts, maybe go find a pleasant country manor…



    The Grange

    Ah, here’s one! The Grange itself from afar. Despite it’s original beauty it has been flanked by yet more labs.


    Back door:


    Library:


    Yet more labs attached to the grange:


    Fancy a swim?


    Grange from the front:


    And from the beautiful rear garden:


    Hope you enjoyed. It really is a massive, fascinating, yet haunting site I cant begin to do justice with 30 photos!
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk
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  4. #2
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    Fascinating - but I fear the suffering that may have taken place here.

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    Yeah, was a pretty horrendous place.
    Also, forgot to mention: I shredded my trousers on the way in - from knee to crotch, and spent the following 6 hours with an...err...fresh breeze...
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk
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    wow, that's a great report...I want to go there now
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    Pseudomerican

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    Great report, don't think i'm going to sleep tonight though.

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    This LAB moved to Pirbright where they continued research into HN1 Virus(bird flu).Its a legent that they cant re-develope site as it may release virus spores into the atmosphere.
    Diy you see the lab with a toiled in the middle of the room???

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  12. #7
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    Default Houghton grange


    WOW! ive alway wanted a look at this place but not sure if they still train police dogs there??? i might give it a go now!!!

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    Incredible find and explore, UrbanX, although I agree with Hydealfred, and find places like this extremely disturbing.
    The site itself is amazing with the village-like atmosphere and the grange is great. Good stuff. :)
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


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    wowser, I grew up around this place, my dad was a head of department and was there from 1969 till they moved. Nice to see it but sad to see the pool where I learnt to swim and spent nearly every saturday during summer in such disrepair.
    There was alot of Bovine as well as avian research, mostly in rather nasty diseases!!!!

    The land goes all the way from the main road right down to the Thicket footpath that links St Ives with Houghton, I've also heard that planning permission has been granted for housing.
    Last edited by Pugstar; 6th Apr 10 at 19:06.
    Zombies man, They really creep me out.

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    What a creepy place, very disturbing. Great report. :)
    May the shadow of Murphy never darken your door."
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DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
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