NGTE – National Gas Turbine Establishment

In 1918 the Royal Aircraft Establishment was built at Pyestock (nr Farnborough) to develop aircraft engine technology. Sir Frank Whittle established Power Jets Ltd nearby to test and develop gas turbines / jet engines. In 1944 (or 1946 – it changes depending on where you read) it was nationalised and became the National Gas Turbine Establishment. The NGTE was one of the leading centres in the world and played a major role in developing jet engines for many years, including the one used in Concorde.

In the 1990s it became the Defence Research Agency and then the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. The government was reluctant to invest further in the agency and in 2002 it was privatised, with the government creating the company known as Qinetiq. Since privatisation the site has gradually closed down, with only a small portion of the site still being used by Qinetiq and Sigma.

Covering around 108 acres, the site is huge. Tesco want to knock it all down and build a distribution centre. A fantastic piece of Britain’s industrial heritage will be lost.

I’m not going to pretend to know how anything there works or what it does. All I know that there are huge pipes and huge machines. The titles of the buildings are based on a 1956 map, so may not be totally accurate.

Outside

I can’t even begin to describe how huge the place is. You can see the size of some of the buildings and pipes here.

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The pictures still don’t really convey the size. Wait till we go into some of the buildings…

Air House

We went through a random door and ended up in this. It is pretty much the largest building on site. There were eight huge generators in here. Being an “air house”, I imagine these generated and pushed the air through the huge pipes on site.

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Eight generators – one massive (super-retro) control room.

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The guy who worked in one of the offices must’ve been really bored. It was packed with classic early-90’s Amiga games like Worms, Beneath A Steel Sky and Lemmings. And an obligatory nudey calendar.

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Between the turbine hall and the offices was a huge corridor with a load of locked doors. One was open though. Inside was a hatch which led down to the insides of one of the huge pipes (you couldn’t actually get into the pipe though). The walls weren’t actually walls, rather some huge air filter elements. So, I assume that every room was used in some sort of air-filtration process.

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Cell 3

This was next. The altitude test cell was used to test engines at ultra-low temperatures (as found at high altitudes!)

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We had a little investigate underground at the end of the day and ended up in the bowels of the cell. The huge doors look like something out of a crazy sci-fi film.

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Control 10

This must be a new addition as it wasn’t on our map. Just one huge generator and mini control room in here.

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Cell 4

This one isn’t on the map as well so I don’t know what it is. All I know is that this machine is the largest thing ever. You can see Speed standing on top of it in the second photo. A recent film – Sahara – was filmed in here. There were signs and props lying around.

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Plant Compressor House

Another huge building – this one full of compressors and instruments.

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There was another retro control room here.

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Cubicle C3. There were five cubicles like this along one side of the building. Each contained a raised viewing/control room overlooking the main testing cubicles.

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Cubicle A3. There were also three larger cubicles on the opposite side of the building. One of them was an “Isentropic Light Piston Facility”, and the one pictured was a “Ludwig something or other“. I love the wooden control board – it made a change from the light green everywhere else.

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The three didn’t run the full length. At one end was the “Cathedral” – a huge testing cubicle, about 6 storeys high!

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There were a few offices and meeting rooms too.

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Cells 1 & 2

The offices of this section looked like something straight out of Star Trek (the really old episodes).

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Battle House

Some combustion tests of some sort went on in here.

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There was also large office/drawing room. The Pot Plant is plastic. Hi peugeot people.

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Power Station

We made our way to the power station next. There was a beautiful little control room there – I can imagine sitting at the desk all day just watching the controls and pushing buttons. It didn’t look like it had been used since the 70’s, although there was some sugar in a drawer dated 1995.

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The main hall in the power station had one huge generator.

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By this time the sun was disappearing quickly. We had a little poke around some other little office buildings too, but didn’t really bother getting into them.

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We went back to the altitude test cell and had a little look under it. We and found a tunnel. This was about 200-300 metres long and led to the Control Building (sort of under the bulb on the map). It was dark and I didn’t take any photos in there, but there were some modernish desks and controls.

Way out

Quite content with the 9 hours we spent on site we decided to leave. We went a ludicrous route which involved going up and over about 9 huge pipes. After 3 of them we were knackered and saw there was a nice flat walkway going accross them all.

I had time for one final photo. Setting up in the dark was a bad idea. My tripod decided to make me bleed for the third time in the day, and it broke. So I ditched it.

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I think that just about shows what we saw – we were there for nine hours and still didn’t see everything.

Update

Since writing this entry, probably the most detailed NGTE website ever has been launched. And it’s still a work in progress. Check it out

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48 Responses to NGTE – National Gas Turbine Establishment

  1. Tim - f/ Canada says:

    Very cool.

    It is amazing that this stuff is just sitting there like a time capsule.

  2. andrew hyde says:

    good photos my dad has some good memorys of pystock or ngte

  3. ROB WILKINSON says:

    DID MY APPRENTISHIP THERE STARTING 1960 MY FATHER WORKED WITH SIR FRANK WHITTLE AND WAS IN CHARGE OF THE CELLS

  4. Laura Lewis Shirley says:

    My father William F Lewis worked at NGTE 1963 until his retirement in 1981.Grade 2 eng worked on TSR2 & Concorde.He was secretary of social club too & my sister & I performed with NGTE Globe players.I still have a few photos. Will send link to him. There are more pics on http://www.industrialbritain.co.uk

  5. Jon A Fletcher says:

    Brings back very old memories.
    My Father who passed away in the 1980’s work at NGTE-Pystock as The Deputy Director.
    I remember there was a great snooker room and also many bowling greens.
    A very sad sight to see.

  6. Peter Stapleton says:

    I flunked A levels, drove past NGTE Nov 1975, wrote asking for a job and 2mths later I was in Engineering Heaven there.Left in 1977 to go to Uni.

    I had a fantastic time at Pyestock – a 19 yr old playing with huge machines, what fun! We did loads of good projects – curing flameout on the RB199 Tornado engine, birdstrike protection on Westland Whirlwind, and compressors which ultimately led to turbo-powered cars.. For those technically minded I was involved in the programming of the Uk’s first 5 axis CNC machine there.

    Next time u sit in a 747, remember the compressor disk design of the RB211 came from Pyestock, The disk cross section was inspired by Helen Bloor’s ( a secretary there) posterior. Lovely lady and a great engine!

    The people I worked with were the very best – Dr David Smith, Norman Waldron, Alex Johnstone, Dr Peter Came, Mike Bloor and Johnny Summers.. From the Admin Block I watched Paras falling to their death and a Meteor crash at Farnborough..

    Such a shame it’s going to waste!

    So sod trespassing, reckon it’s worth it for a commando recce and bonfire in the woods by the library. Anyone up for it? The original site pass looked like an Embasy fag packet and many times I had one on my dashboard, so that’s how we can justify our presence 🙂

    BTW it used to be a golf course, hence the main road being the Fairway. The Cathedral was acoustically perfectly quiet – and a great place for lunchtime liaisons…. :-))

  7. Mrs Joan Gardiner says:

    My late husband worked at NGTE from about 1954 until he retired as a SSO in 1984.He was responsible for the design,specification and commissioning of a Jet Noise Laboratory among other research but sadly Rheumatoid Arthritis shortened his career.
    However I may be 80yrs old but finding these sites,by chance on the internet, brought back very happy memories of NGTE and the open days and some sadnes that it is no more.

  8. Hi there. What a fabulous page on an incredible site. I used to work here a few years ago (for an assosiated engine testing company) I am homw from the middle east soon and would love to go back there. if you would be interested in an expenses paid return to the site. PLEASE PLEASE get in touch. I looked around briefly while i worked on the site but on ones own there is only so much you can do. I will fill you in on the details if you contact me…. Paul

  9. TO PETER STAPLETON. my email is pdavidson84@hotmail.com please get in touch if you fancy that reccy. For the benefit of others on the site reading this request for comany on another recce I believe in damaging nothing and removing nothing, just an opportunity to take the last pictures of a site that is dear to my heart as an gas turbine test engineer who used to work on the site.

  10. Foz says:

    Came across this site by chance as wanted to search for deserted technical establishments (as you do). Fabulous to think of the pipe-smoking tweed jacketed engineers and scientists milling around here during the years it operated, and just a little bit scary imagining the noise generated by all this machinery when in operation. Shame most of this work is probably conducted on a boring computer these days. There is a dedicated site to this place although not many interior pics at the mo.

  11. Ian Cripps says:

    I worked as a fitter in Battle House late ,73 / early’74before moving to a conveyor company in Camberley. At that time there were two Admiralty three-drum Yarrow boilers in Battle house ‘A’ and ‘B’, and a third five-drum controlled-superheat boiler ‘C’. Steam was supplied to both the ‘Air House’ and the Beliss turbine in what was then also called the ‘Admiralty Test House’ across the road. (also to a Brush high-speed test turbine in an annex alongside Battle House) Shortly before I left another boiler was being built up towards the Air House – ‘D’ boiler(?) but I left before it was put into use. I remember periods of intense activity – especially if there was a breakdown such as changing the superheater elements on ‘B’ boiler and getting the ‘Melesco’ spherical ends steamtight followed by long periods of standing by waiting for ‘something to go wrong’ – a regular fill-in job was nursing the Weir steam pumps feeding the boilers with fuel oil – near tar-like ‘Bunker C’ – lighter oil was used on occasion to light up with. Another pet problem was with the Weir turbine feedwater pumps – nip the glands up too tight and they would overheat or leave them a bit slack and they would spray water all over the place.. Happy days! Two engineers I do remember – gentlemen – were Ron Jesse and Wally Westerman.

  12. Simon Cully says:

    I worked in General Admin & Purchasing in the Main Office Block from 1980 to 1985 as Admin Assistant. Worked with Ray Herrington, John Whitefoot, Pat Wilson amongst others. Remember Fred Powers and Sid Hawkins in Stores. A fun place to work with a fantastic family feel to the place.

  13. Peter PTO Design Offices says:

    I was one of the very lucky people to obtain an Engineering Apprenticeship at NGTE. Starting in September 1981. I remember at the age of 16 being escorted round the vast site in an MOD Coach with my parents “mouth wide open at the sheer size of the place”. The skill set was imense with Marine, Electronic/Electrical/Mechanical/Aeronautical Engineers supporting a framework of key specialised Scientists and Research and Development teams.

    There were large teams of Craftsmen/Fitters and a semi skilled workforce all keeping the place ticking.

    The Apprenticeship scheme in 1981 had 22 places of various skill sets and was oversubscribed by over 900 school applicants all wishing to have an opportunity of Training at the site. I understand this was the case every year and we considered ourselves very lucky to get through the interview stages and were constanlty reminded of that fact too.

    We were nicknamed Troggs and had issued RAF Grey overals, the name Trogg was coined from the lapel names located on the overals that read”APP TRG followed by the name of the apprentice.” The first year of training was undertaken at the “so called old site” the original site in an apprentice training workshop that was the original workshops used by Sir Frank Whittle and his team. The remains of the long since demolished test cells and the adjacent test bed “Flying Bedstead” sat along side. The training was hard and demanding and in line with most apprenticeships we spent alot of time in the first few weeks filing pieces of metal to within a few thousands of an inch to make our tool kits for when we went on site the second year.

    By the age of 17 as an Electrical Apprentice I had made all the basic tools that were required in our day to day job such as Multimeters, Insulation testers, screwdrivers and so on including the enclosures for the test equipment out of sheet metal.

    We were constantly tested and by the second year we were set loose on the main site spending several months in each department from the air house to the test cells. All apprentices were expected to know a significant amount of every aspect of the facility and how it functioned.

    By the last year we were set a project to manage in line with our skill set and we had to as a team plan, procure from on site stores and follow detailed drawings to install a new test rig or similar project. The process was overseen by an Apprentice Master and Senior Engineers the standard required was very high.

    I loved working there and remember being so pleased to be a small part of such an amazing place. I left in the late eighties to further enhance my career and always intended returning to work there in my later years, “you never realise things are not permanent in your early twenties”.

    As for the closure I believe it was more about money than maturity of technology as I heard Rolls Royce still test engines and have to bid for test time at a similar facility in the USA.

    Still it was good whilst it lasted.

    There are millions of stories to be told about Pyestock by thousands of people who worked there lets hope they are not forgotten.

  14. Steve says:

    Like Peter I was very luck to have 11 years at Pyestock including my apprenticeship there. A great place to work, good mates, excellent skills and great memories. Just found this site and could not believe how sad the place looks, every photos brought back memories of people who worked there.
    Those were the days when you could be proud of something.
    Names of a few: Sam Holt, Wally Waterfield, Brian Hatto, Ron Trethewey, Sid Forster, Reg Rose, Roy Peters.

  15. Tony Duncan says:

    I was a student apprentice (living at the RAE hostel) from 1962-4.
    I worked on parts of the supersonic wind tunnel.
    I didn’t get on with my supervisors and left in 1964, and qualified later as an industrial designer.
    I value my engineering experience there very highly (at least).
    It really WAS a different era!

  16. Peter Trevena says:

    Just like everyone,i too have great memories of the time spent at Pyestock from 1972 to 1988,i nearly shed a tear when the hostal was demolished too.I was a sheetmetal worker in the main workshop working with great people Bert Borret,Roy Peters,Sid Forster and good old Earnie Hurdle and lots lots more.Real good times.

  17. John Biddiss says:

    I reckon I know “Peter PTO Design Offices” – riding his F1SE down the Fleet Road after work like the clappers… I was one of the groups of new Mechanical and Electrical Apprentices who started their careers in September 1981. I recall Brian Hatto – Manager of the Appreciate Department on the Old Site, Don Main, Wally Waterfield and Alan Pocock – the 1 st Year Apprentice Masters. And, at the back of the Workshops, 2nd Year Apprentice Masters Norman Patience and Keith Cross.

    I spent my time in the 1st & 2nd Year Workshops before going straight over to RAE (33 Dept workshops), before returning to the Main Workshops in the Machine Department until 1986. So, the photos, whist bring back some memoires, are lost on e personally. However, I intend to send this site to another old NGTE Electrical Apprentice, who crawled all over the cells in this time on site.

    After moving to Oz in 1988, time and memories have got the better of me. If anyone in the 1981 – 1985 era reads this, leave a contact address. It would be great to catch up.

    JB

  18. John Biddiss says:

    I reckon I know “Peter PTO Design Offices” – riding his F1SE down the Fleet Road after work like the clappers… I was one of the groups of new Mechanical and Electrical Apprentices who started their careers in September 1981. I recall Brian Hatto – Manager of the Appreciate Department on the Old Site, Don Main, Wally Waterfield and Alan Pocock – the 1 st Year Apprentice Masters. And, at the back of the Workshops, 2nd Year Apprentice Masters Norman Patience and Keith Cross.

    I spent my time in the 1st & 2nd Year Workshops before going straight over to RAE (33 Dept workshops), before returning to the Main Workshops in the Machine Department until 1986. So, the photos, whist bring back some memoires, are lost on e personally. However, I intend to send this site to another old NGTE Electrical Apprentice, who crawled all over the cells in this time on site.

    After moving to Oz in 1988, time and memories have got the better of me. If anyone in the 1981 – 1985 era reads this, leave a contact address. It would be great to catch up.

    JB

  19. John Biddiss says:

    I reckon I know “Peter PTO Design Offices” – riding his F1SE down the Fleet Road after work like the clappers… I was one of the groups of new Mechanical and Electrical Apprentices who started their careers in September 1981. I recall Brian Hatto – Manager of the Apprentice Department on the Old Site, Don Main, Wally Waterfield and Alan Pocock – the 1 st Year Apprentice Masters. And, at the back of the Workshops, Norman Patience and Keith Cross.

    I spent my time in the 1st & 2nd Year Workshops before going straight over to RAE (33 Dept workshops), before returning to the Main Workshops in the Machine Department. So, the photos, whist bring back some memoires, are lost on e personally. However, I intend to send this site to another old NGTE Electrical Apprentice, who crawled all over the cells in this time on site.

    After moving to Oz in 1988, time and memories have got the better of me. If anyone in the 1981 – 1985 era reads this, leave a contact address. It would be great to catch up.

    JB

  20. Andy Jenvey says:

    Started my aprenticeship here in Sept 1980,and well remember some of the names mentioned.Still use some of the tools I made today and definitely the skills.I live in Cape Town South Africa these days but was back in the U K in June and went to have alook at NGTE couldnt believe it,all run down and broken!!

  21. David Buixton says:

    I had the privilege of being a member of the Ram Jet test team,1951-1955, while in the RAF and seconded to NGTE. I have found myself almost over whelmed by nostalgia as I read about all hat has happend . It was a wonderful experience for me that resulted in my exchange tour at Wright Air Development Center, Dayton.Ohio. What great people led by Mr Probert !

  22. Serge Depauw says:

    For heaven’s sake let’s not have this swallowed up by Tesco…..

  23. Julian Minns says:

    I served as a summer student at NGTE in 1968, shared an office in the computer block and worked with a scientist in I guess in one of the “cells” investigating the centrifugal performance of fan blades at very high speeds (>100,000 RPM?). It was in a small block with the fan screaming away whilst we stood in a seperate room, I did some computer programming (in ALGOL?) estimating the centrifugal forces with speed and blade size. I stayed in an accommodation block on the Farnborough site during that summer, and one weekend went to see the Rolling Stones at a free concert in Hyde Park when Mick Jagger released all those white doves in memory of Brian Jones and plenty of hippies dancing to the music with no clothes on!! There was plenty of dirty old men coming to see the free nude show!! I remember turning out for a friendly cricket match between the staff and a local team (Or might have been the Technicians against the Scientists) on the Pyestock site whilst there. I enjoyed my time there for the 4 weeks, a fantastic experience, my fellow students were very jealous when I got back for the 2nd year of my degree at Sheffield University in Mech Eng.

    • Peter Stapleton says:

      Whoops, haven’t been here for 3 years, how time flies!!! Julian, I worked on the very high speed fans as well (1976), we had a cell set up packed with cardboard 15 x 15 x 15. When the fan exploded we X-rayed the results to establish the forces that had torn the blades apart. We used Fespian… finite element stress analysis.. running in Fortran on a PDP11 to establish the limits of speed load, surge and choke. In those days progs were fed into the computer via tape and I forgot to put the stop dash in. Next day I came back to find the computer room full of my print out from repeating the same calcs like, um, too many times over. Thank you Cathy of the Computer Room 1976 for getting my arse off the hook that day by explaining it was a printer problem, bless you!

      Look forward to hearing more from ex Pyestock folks… 🙂

  24. Maralyn Tamblin says:

    My dad, George Watson and my mum Doris Watson worked at Power Jets in Whetstone, Leicester with Frank Whittle. Power Jets I believe was then nationalised and became NGTE at Pyestock, Farnborough. We moved there in 1950 to Pyestock Estate (Whetstone Road). We were one of the first families to arrive and the houses were still being built. All of the people on that estate worked at the NGTE. Not many cars in those days they all used to come home on their bikes – quite a sight. My dad was an engineering inspector and often used to bring apprentices home for a good meal. A couple of them stayed as lodgers. Prior to her death in 1983 my mum had also worked at Pyestock in the drawing office. As a child I used to enjoy the Christmas parties and outings and much later my parents started an Old Time Dance Club with the help of the Sports and Social Club. I also took fencing lesson there. It was a great era and so sad that it has ended up like this.

  25. Did my apprentiship at pyestock 1972, i remember mr travena how u doin, and anyone else reading,great times in maintenance/ still see a few old faces, ray lynch,john pettigrew, barry appleyard, spreddy, see you all at xmas.

  26. Anthony Pearson says:

    Came across site having read ‘Empire of The Clouds’ by James Hamilton-Paterson.
    I served with bomber command during the glorious fifties and followed with great attention how the British Aircraft Industry was developing up to and following the intervention of Duncan Sandys’ 1957 White Paper. He thought missiles would take over from Fighter Command!
    It is so sad now to see that anything associated with the hub (British) of the worlds
    aircraft industry has to be destroyed as though it meant nothing and was not worth preserving and should therefore be relegated to the dustbin (Tesco) of this Great British past.

  27. Anthony Fripp says:

    I also came across the site having read ‘Empire of The Clouds’ by James Hamilton-Paterson.
    I was very interested, as when I was an apprentice with Vickers in the late 50’s I worked on a design for a set of hugh hydraulic cylinders for Pyestock. I think they were for the altitude test chamber, but not sure. The book is worth reading as it explanes reasons for the decline of the British aircraft industry. I also worked for Bristol Siddeley for a while before the decline.
    I left the country in 1966 to work for an American company as there was no future for engineers with my experience in England. I wish the site could be made open for viewing.

  28. Mike Prescott says:

    I foumd this site after reading ‘ Empire Of The Clouds’ ( a fascinating book ). To think that such a historical place exists this day and age when everything is torn down in the name of progress. Hope somebody somewhere has the means to save at least something of this fantastic piece of history.

  29. Jennie Mitchell says:

    My husband has just been reading Empire of the Clouds, and I found this site for him, such a shame that our heritage has been allowed to die.

  30. Allan Young says:

    What a blast from the past! Thanks so much for the photos taken during your trip around the NGTE Maralyn.
    You brought tears to my eyes with your description and glorious photos. Prior to this I had no photos of my stay at Pyestock, if you were caught with a camera in the 50’s you would be hung drawn and quartered. So thanks a million again.
    My association with NGTE started way back when my father was enployed at Power Jets at Whetsone Leics.
    We then moved to Pyestock estate in late 1949 as the dwellings were being constructed.
    My apprenticeship with NGTE started in 1955 and the first year of training was all at “The Training Shop” on the RAE Tech’ Col’ site.
    I then moved over to the NGTE site for the remainder of my 4 years of training, ending up on The Old Site where we were experimenting with a revolutionary tubular helicopter blade that was to be fitted on top of a conventional aircraft……VTOL on a grand scale. ah ! happy days.

    I am now living in Melbourne where I have worked in various jobs for a large petro- chemical company since 1966. Of course I am now retired with 4 wonderful grandchildren.
    Thanks for the memories.

    i

    • Maralyn Tamblin says:

      I haven’t looked at this site for ages and was so surprised and delighted to see your comments in reply to my post. I vaguely remember your parents Allan – did they live in Ladywood Avenue?
      It all seems so long ago now. I am also retired of course and have two lovely grandson’s. We live in Milton Keynes.

  31. I too have read (enjoyed and learnt) Empire of the Clouds by J Hamilton-Preston. Perhaps a few more politicians should read it – they would see how this countries expertise has been squandered by the politicians.

  32. Andy Dinnage says:

    Hi, I used to work there. Spent a lot of time in the Airhouse, Cell 3, cell 3 west and cells 1&2. Great seeing the pictures, brought back a lot of memories. It was an incredible place to work.

    • Graham Deavin says:

      Hi

      I work in the refrigeration industry and believe that there was a huge cooling system to enable tests to be carried out at low temperatures. Do you know anything about it?

      Thanks in advance.

    • Bob Wheeler says:

      Hi Andy.
      Did you know an A Simons who worked there? I have just bought a slide rule with his name marked on the case and am intrigued as to its origins and its owner. I wonder if he is still alive and how his slide rule ended up as an eBay item at the Iain Rennie Hospice eBay site in Hertfordshire.

      Best Wishes

      Bob Wheeler

      • John Lines says:

        A Simons; Archie Simons was Assistant Director at NGTE until he retired. Regret I can’t remember which department he was AD of (a long time ago).
        Regards, John.

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        Hello John

        Thank you so very much for your message. I was getting nowhere fast in my quest. I hope this will get me much further in my search. As I said, I happened to buy his old slide rule earlier this year – his name was written in thebox – and wanted to know its origins. It arrived in Tring’s Iain Rennie Hospice at Home’s ebay department and I listed it. It came as a donation through our Flackwell Heath shop and I got intrigued by its origin so in the end I bid for it.

        Thank you so much and best wishes

        Bob Wheeler

  33. Bob Wheeler says:

    I have recently purchased a slide rule With the name A Simons NGTE marked on the case. Can anyone tell me if I can/or how to, trace the employees of the NGTE as I am intrigued by its history and whether this person is still alive.

  34. Bob Wheeler says:

    Don’t let Tesco’s get their dirty, grubby mitts on this, they will only destroy it in their greedy quest for the almighty “Great British Pound”. This place should be classed as a heritage site and open to the people of this country to see where a portion of our history was made. Modest fees for tours may even make it a viable “museum”.

  35. Bob Wheeler says:

    Hello all previous posters

    I too have just finished reading Empire in the Clouds. A fascinating book chronicling, as has been earlier said on these pages, succesive Governments “of all colours” “squandering” this country’s achievements in aircraft design.

    Nothing has changed in recent decades either, has it? Governments are still squandering our expertise in many, if not most, industries. Too busy in worrying about our consumption of Ham Burgers and fiddling with insignificant things, than getting on with the real job of governing these lands and keeping us safe from marauding overseas predators.

  36. MIKE HAWKES says:

    I worked at the Admiralty Test House. Happy days! Technology has sadly moved on – computer simulation is much cheaper and is as effective if not more so. High tech now doesn’t require great physical presence. Governments should not be responsible for funding innovation and design – that has always been the perogative of private investment. Government meddling has simply squandered vast amounts of money. The purpose of RAE and NGTE was primary to improve our weapon delivery systems during the “Cold War”. Thank God the Cold War is over and this necessity is no longer required.

    • Bob Wheeler says:

      Hello Mike

      Thank you for your post. I agree with what you say about Government meddling and the fact that we no longer need some things after the ending of the “cold war”

      Re my earlier postings, would you have any idea how I might trace a former employee – A Simons – whose slide ruleI purchased from a Iain Rennie Hospice at Home shop in Flackwell Heath near High Wycombe.
      Since this purchase I have become extremely in the history of NGTE and in particular, A Simons’s part in its operations. Any ideas will be most helpful.

      I’m not asking for any official secrets to be disclosed.

      • Mike Hawkes says:

        I think tracing former employees would be nigh on impossible given that all were civilian employees of the government ie civil servants. I have no idea what records remain but the chances of getting round the data protection act are zero. The best chance would be through the local news media but even this would be a long shot as most will have moved on and may not be living in the area but there might be an “old boys” network somewhere.

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        Many thanks Mike.

        I always thought I was on a very difficult mission

        Best wishes. Bob

  37. Jeni Roberts says:

    Hi I worked at NGTE from 1966 to 1970. Is there anyone out there who might remember me? I worked for Dr Ian Cheeseman. I have just heard that, sadly, he died this year. Regards Jeni.

  38. Donald Foushee says:

    I have just completed Empire Of The Clouds. I have worked as a contract or free-lance control systems engineer in the US for over 40 years. So very much of what I read in Hamilton-Paterson’s book applies to the US. In over 35 heavy industrial sites I had worked in, all but one or two or gone. And all this is met with a commensurate loss of engineering expertise. The industrial US is finished and we are receding into some kind of pre-industrial age. This new age oddly will be serviced by countless degreed but aptitude free “graduates” who have done nothing but endure curricula. Our society has nothing left to entertain itself with but an absurd political system. A system where we stagger between meaningless elections and wall-to-wall talking heads that serve only to drive any thinking person from the room. But there is some progress I suppose. The ranks of the various governmental bodies, and especially the huge and suffocating Federal agencies, continue to increase almost exponentially. I suspect eventually they will be forced to resort to our cannibalism to sustain themselves. I think it can be imagined that both the US and the UK will have no choice but to return to feudalism.

  39. george says:

    can you please give me a copy of that map. i would like to explore that place for the last time.

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