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Booster Pumping Station for 'PLUTO' British Strategic Oil Pipeline

Article about: Yesterday, during my walk as well as finding the WD jerry can (posted on Archaeology section) I also had another destination in mind I remembered that as a youngster I often used to cycle in

  1. #1

    Default Booster Pumping Station for 'PLUTO' British Strategic Oil Pipeline

    Yesterday, during my walk as well as finding the WD jerry can (posted on Archaeology section) I also had another destination in mind

    I remembered that as a youngster I often used to cycle in the area and had spotted and explored an obviously WW2 vintage building. I had never able to work out what its use but recently quite by chance I found some information and because it's an usual building and had a rare use I thought Id share it with you. Sadly my walk took longer than I'd planned (retrieving the Jerry can etc) so by the time I got there it was getting dark. I had to resort to using flash for some pictures so the quality could be better.

    This pumping station is near the small village of Northington in Hampshire it was built as a pressure booster for the strategic oil pipeline constructed in World War 2 between the village of Hamble in Hampshire and Aldermaston in Berkshire.

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    The buildings are substantially constructed, I guess to withstand the effects of blast and are of military in origin. The site covers a couple of acres and is bordered by the remains of the secure perimeter fence.
    Passing through the original gates (now locked) there is a small gate house to the right and just past that is the original lamp still high up its post, it was used for lighting the entrance. From here it leads into the main site which consists of two main buildings, the largest is two storeys high and would have contained the original pumping gear, a smaller building to the left and now heavily overgrown has separate blast walls constructed to cover each entrance and contains the remains of some electrical fittings, it probably housed the electrical control gear. The pumping gear was most probably powered by an electric motor due to this substantial nature of this building.

    Back to the main building, it is separated into two parts one originally housed the electric motor with its drive shaft and connected to the pump in the adjoining plant room. Very little now remains of either the pump or its motor except foundation plates and the pump bearing housings.

    The electrical installation in the adjoining building is of wartime origin and there are some fascinating pieces still in place but due to the failing light I couldn't get pictures in the detail I would have liked. Adjoining this is yet another small single storey office type building, sadly now badly damaged and one wall has even collapsed.

    The pipeline is still in use today between Hamble (Fawley oil refinery) and Aldermaston but without the need for a booster pump. It is said that following the D DAY invasion this pipeline was used to supply some of the fuel/oil pumped across the channel in the famous 'PLUTO' Pipe Line Under The Ocean.

    To me what is surprising is the whole rear of the site was concreted and tarred over creating a large area like a parade ground for what in effect were small buildings. All I can think is perhaps it was used as a parking or storage area for supplies prior to the D DAY invasion because the whole area was packed with troops and supplies prior to Overlord. Post war the site was used by the local council to store grit and was completely covered in mounds when I was younger but most have now gone.

    I'll probably return again in the future to try to get better interior shots.

    Looking back toward the main gate and guard house.

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    The original perimeter fencing.

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    The original entrance light.

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    Various views of the pump building.

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    Interior pictures, this retains a few electrical fittings, pump bearings etc.

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    Sadly the pump room has been filled probably unofficially with dumped tires.

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    Looking back toward the building across the storage area?

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    more to follow.

    LUCKYSTRIKE

  2. #2

    Default Re: Booster Pumping Station for 'PLUTO' British Strategic Oil Pipeline

    Now on to the electrical building.

    As you can see it was substantially built, notice the free standing blast walls covering the entrances.

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    Looking between the blast wall and building wall toward an original door still in position.

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    Looking into one of the rooms.

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    Original electrical fittings still in place.

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    Another room, with a base perhaps for a transformer?. I took two pictures in this room pointing at the corners surprisingly when I took the second the flash seemed to bounce back out of the room dazzling me a little. That photo showed a misty shape I couldn't explain.

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    The final picture is taken looking through the old office type building from the position where the wall has collapsed.

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    Thank you

    LUCKYSTRIKE

  3. #3
    ?

    Default Re: Booster Pumping Station for 'PLUTO' British Strategic Oil Pipeline

    Thats an interesting piece of ww2 history LS, i believe there is a prefab building on the coast which is now occupied that has the original fittings and extra thick walls to prevent blast damage, the pipe line is supposed to have run right through the building and into the sea some 100yds away, there was a program on the box some time ago, the old boy that lives there now hasnt altered the interior execpt for decorating

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