Pyestock NGTE, Fleet, Hampshire

Visiting Pyestock was high up on our list for a long time. The site is incredible, it’s so much bigger than you imagine it to be.

It was another early morning set-off from Dorset, arriving at our chosen cul-de-sac as the sun was rising. We then started on our route through the woods and to the perimeter fence. Without any hassle we were soon inside and snapping away. It was really difficult to photograph some of the machinery as it was just so big, and only having a compact digital camera at the time made it even more difficult.

For over fifty years, Pyestock was host to the development and testing of gas turbine engines. From the 1950s through to the 1970s, it was the largest facility of its type in Europe (if not the world), and the design, experimentation and testing at Pyestock helped to usher in the jet age. From running up Concorde’s Olympus jet engines in a simulated supersonic conditions through to the endurance checking of every gas turbine installed in the ships of the Royal Navy, Pyestock’s credentials were extremely impressive.

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Important, noteworthy & interesting comments are highlighted below

  1. Jen Chamberlain was Henderson says:

    I worked in the NGTE kitchens as a teenager in the early 1970s just down from Newcastle and needing a job. Mrs Mac was the supervisor. We used to go with the drivers into the site and sell tea and food to the workers. The canteen was huge… I remember the place had a Whittle engine display, not sure if on display in main canteen or managers dining room. Wonder where it is now! The NGTE had its own social club that was well attended. All good things must come to an end.
    Happy memories of old friends and one I still keep in touch with.

  2. Chris says:

    Is this place still empty or abandoned? I can’t find any abandoned or derelict buildings or ruins around Hampshire or Surrey! If anybody knows anywhere please give me a shout. Much appreciated.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Sadly Pyestock was flattened a long time ago now and all you’ll find there is a new housing “village”.

      1. Nathan says:

        Last building on the site is being taken down now. Went past the new housing estate today and could see it wide open :(

        Such a shame

  3. Robert Paterson says:

    My late father was a senior engineer in the design team from the old Ministry of Works who were responsible for the building of the air house etc in the 1950s and 1960s. He loved every minute of his time on the project. As a teenager I enjoyed several site visits with him. I can still remember the excitement I felt at the sheer scale of the buildings and enthusiasm of everyone involved.

  4. Governor says:

    This place was amazing on all levels me and a few friends would go here every weekend and explore different parts of the site.

    We also bumped into the Polish guys stealing all the metals there, were taking all the good stuff brass, copper they were taking tons of it we would see them lift the gate at the far end of the site where the woods run along they would drive their van up to the fence and load it top to bottom with copper and brass there must of been like 2 ton in their white Ford Transit. They never worked in the day only at night with their headtorch on. The Gurkhas would drive round in the jeep and they would all stop cutting. We were sick of them doing this so I went over to the sercurty hut and showed them where they put all the scrap they were cutting out and we showed them all the tools. We opened the door and the security guards were shocked. They phoned the police and we waited until they arrived and told them when and how they were getting in. They asked us what we were doing there we just said sightseeing and taking photos, they were like ok and thanks for your help. After this never seen them back there so I think they were all arrested, scum bags come here and rob our MOD site that’s not on.

    1. L says:

      I heard its been completely demolished. Is anything left now?

    2. ItsMeBeesh says:

      You sound VERY racist.

      1. shannon says:

        How is it racist to call thieves scumbags? Just because they were Polish?

        1. Luke says:

          Very true what you say, what part makes him racist because he said there polish & scumbags.. they shouldn’t be stealing from a heritage site it’s not on

  5. Mark says:

    Me and a few friends went here lots of time just for days out and took photos and spent hours there. The site was a hot spot for scrap metal theft we caught a group of around 15 foreign people there every night nicking all the good metals they had girders and walkie-talkies one would watch the guards at all time from roof tops to tell the other to stop cutting as guards are doing their rounds in the jeep. They ruined Pyestock.

    1. George Kay says:

      Hi is it easy to get in to and how?

    2. tom says:

      How do you get in?

  6. Andy b says:

    Worked at pyestock in the early to mid 90’s as a security guard and across the road in the main Farnborough RAE site, shame it’s all gone now many interesting people and work carried out.

  7. Gerald Bishop says:

    Worked there until 1996 as a Cell 3 Trials Officer and Test Controller on the EJ200 Engine for the Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft which turned out to be Pyestock swan song – best job I ever had and many good memories – so sad.

    1. Graham Deavin says:


      Interested to hear that you worked in cell 3. Do you know how much refrigerant R-22 was in the system?
      Do you know what happened to it when the plant was decommissioned?

      Thank you for any information.



      1. Gerald Bishop says:

        Cell 3 didn’t use refrigerant but had a 4MW cold air turbine that is it quickly expanded circa 50kg/sec of air from 100Psig to atmospheric pressure and down to -80deg/C (193Kelvin).

        Cell 3 West had a fridge plant that used ammonia which I assume was pumped out into a tanker and taken away volume of ammonia I don’t know but several tonnes I guess.

        The whole site is flattened now and will have houses built on it.

      2. Gerald Bishop says:

        Cell 3 did not use refrigerant. It had a Cold Air Turbine (CAT) which was a 4MW turbo expander – circa 50kg a second air was expanded from about 7bar to 1bar over an axle turbine and went from circa 20C to -80C. So this is how Cell 3 got its cold air.

        The Civil Cell, Cell 3 West used refrigerant but I never worked on it and don’t know the details.

        1. John says:

          Cell 3 West was a high altitude test facility. The likes of the RR RB21-524 did development work here as it was a big test rig. The rig had to be partially disassembled then reassembled around the engine as this was the only means of accommodating the engines size.

          Does anyone want to open up the real discussion, of where the secrets were? I’m talking about a very big hanger known as the ‘Palladium’.

          1. Jon Wade says:

            Hi. I served an engineering apprenticeship at Pyestock from 1976 to 1980. I was there as an engineer for 8 years after that.

            It never ceases to amuse me about the conspiracy stories and your reference the Palladium is one. The Palladium was its nickname but it was also known 584 Building or the plant store. Pyestock was a huge industrial complex and needed a store for spares. The air ducts were 72″ diameter so something like valves were pretty big. Add to that bearings, electric motors heat exchangers, filters, an overhead crane, etc and there you have it – the Palladium.

    2. Thomas Steckler says:

      Dear Gerald Bishop.

      My name is Thomas Steckler and I am currently at university in the process of planning a Photo-Journalism based documentary for our course. Our main idea for our documentary will be based on Abandoned Locations with the viewing platform of VR and we are hoping to be able to film in Pyestock NTGE as one of our possible locations.

      We are looking towards people to interview as part of the documentary to share more insight into the location’s past, why it was abandoned, what it was like to work there etc. Is there any possibility you’d be willing to help us with this whether it’s through a written interview or more preferably a recorded message for us or depending on location if we could film an interview with you. My email address is:

      We look forward to hearing back from you.

      Kind regards,

      1. Gerald Bishop says:

        The site no longer exists but I have a PowerPoint about the place if it’s any use to you?

        1. James Warren says:

          Gerald, I would be very interested in the PowerPoint. Currently working onsite with the excavations.

          1. Gerald Bishop says:

            Email me your Email contact and I’ll send it to you.


    3. Andrew Tucker says:

      I used to work for Rolls Royce (Bristol) and spent a lot of time at Pyestock in a test measurement caravan next to the cell or in the ‘Daisy’ recording room below the control room.

      If I remember right the cell controller back then was Ray Ball? I worked mostly on the RB199 and the very early days of the EJ200 (1983 to 1990). It breaks my heart to see such an amazing test site wiped off the map. When I look at google earth, I can only see the huge pit that cell 3 sat in. I can remember during RB199 testing we came back after a bank holiday to find a big water pipe had failed and cell 3 was completely submerged – disaster!

  8. ---- says:

    Checked this out recently, it is now completely gone with heavy security. As we approached the fence line we could see Land Rovers heading our way instantly… nothing to see there at all.

  9. Michal says:

    Hi, we are urban explorers from Ireland and we were wondering if it is still possible to get there? Could you contact with me by email? I would really appreciate it.
    Cheers Michal

    1. Pretty sure most of the site, if not all of it, has been flattened now.

    2. jordon cook says:

      It is probably the hardest place in Hampshire to get into now, sadly security have caught onto it being an Urbex hot spot so there’s not much more to see.

      1. The Urban Explorer says:

        Well, it’s been in the process of demolition for well over a year now.

        1. Max says:

          Me and a few mates managed to get in yesterday. It is amazing in there and hardly any of it has been demolished. Security are awful. We where stood on the roof and no one could see us. We spent the whole day there without any problems. Although now be careful at 12 o’clock a police helicopter goes over the top and on the hour every hour security start inspection and sometimes they have police and dogs in there searching. Have fun exploring it’s great.

          1. The Urban Explorer says:

            Max, I’d love to use that time machine when you’re finished with it! Seriously though… what part of the flattened wasteland were you exploring? I can’t see any of Pyestock left according to this:

            Pyestock NGTE

  10. dean willcox says:

    I worked there in the 70’s pictures brought back memories what a shame its not still operational

    1. Not only is it not operational anymore, it’s in the middle of being torn down! :(

      1. B Gorringe says:

        I was a draughtsman in the 50s and worked on the high altitude test cell which was manufactured in Darlington. I also worked on the large pressurised pipe work, there were some interesting problems caused by large temperature ranges, down to minus 70C the steel used had to be specially made. It was a great project and did my CV a world of good.

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