The National Gas Turbine Establishment (NGTE Pyestock) in Fleet was the UK’s focal site for developing and testing gas turbines and jet engines. Pyestock was a former golf course between Farnborough and Fleet and was chosen for its location in a secluded woodland spot where noise would be damped and the NGTE’s activities could be kept away from public view as the project was top secret.
The facility was built in 1949 and extended upon the advent of supersonic travel. Pyestock was the largest facility of its type in the world and engines for the V Bomber, Harrier and Tornado were tested as well as the Concorde. The building was decommissioned and abandoned in 2000.
An entire website exists at www.NGTE.co.uk. The following is from its introduction page.
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.
As gas turbine research matured and computer simulations took over, Pyestock was gradually run down and now stands unused. The structures on the site are considered to be of national, if not international, importance. But due to their extremely specialised nature, no alternative uses have been put forward, and the whole site is destined to be demolished and replaced by a supermarket distribution centre.
However, in this transitional period at it waits its fate, Pyestock has become an unofficial museum. The entrance fee is a combination of dexterity, intelligence and courage. Those able to pay are constantly amazed and inspired by what they find; and are saddened that one of the most important research sites in the world is to be swept away and forgotten.
I was one of these unofficial, uninvited visitors. This website is a record of what I found. I hope it does Pyestock justice.
Location: Fleet, England
Category: Research facility