Pyestock like you’ve never seen it before

Author AndyK - Last updated: 03.06.2013

My first report onto the website – My style is a little bit different to what you’re probably used to! Read on to find out more…

NGTE Pyestock – The National Gas Turbine Establishment – is a huge indistrial site in Hampshire. The site was used to test jet engines during their development, and was expanded over time to accommodate larger, more powerful engines and more realistic flight conditions. The engines could be tested in the giant wind tunnels while the conditions of flight up to 2,000mph at an altitude of 65,000ft could be simulated. To achieve such a feat, the largest wind tunnels ever constructed were needed, and a vast array of additional services including the Air House who’s compressors could be configured to blow air into, or suck air out of the test cells. Each compressor set, of which there are eight, were driven by 36,500hp electric motors.


#1 – Runway to Mars – Light Painting in Cell 1

Originally opening in the 1949 with a number of small test cubicles, the site was top secret at first, but that didn’t last. I should imagine the noise alone would have generated a lot of interest. Large scale expansion took place throughout the 50s and 60s to facilitate the much larger jet engines being developed such as those used on Concorde. The site finally closed in 2000 due to a decline in jet engine development and the advent of computer aided simulations.


#2 – Strange Worlds – Cell 3 first stage cooler

We visisted the site on two occasions, and have plans for a third visit. The place is so vast it would be impossible to explore every building properly during a single visit.

Our first visit proved to be an interesting game of cat and mouse with security and their dogs. They just happened to be everywhere we wanted to be, which made moving around the site difficult. This didn’t deter us, however, and the sites we saw were truely unbelievable. We knew the place would be big and interesting, but we didn’t expect it would be that big and that interesting! The overwhelming size of Cell 4 is a sight I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.


#3 – Star-Makers Eye – Blast array in Cell 3

There was a lot more light painting potential then I expected. The test cells are pretty much all dark inside, and provide a massive amount of scope for light painting with huge and interesting features.

We were so impressed by the place we had our next visit planned before we’d finished the journey home!




#4 – After Burner – Bringing Cell 3 back to life
#5 – Thermogenic Interdiction – Sci-Fi doors added to Cell 3 for the movie Sahara
#6 – Claustrophobia Negative – Inside the plenum chamber of Cell 4

Our second visit turned out to be much easier with security, hardly seeing them at all during our 14 hour expedition, despite covering much more of the site. This time we were much more prepared for light painting, carry a vast array of lighting gear with us. Not the easiest to transport around the place, but worth the effort for some spectacular light painting shots. Demolition work is now well under way. Ground clearance was underway during our first visit, and by the second some of the buildings and the test cells themselves were beginning to be demolished.


#7 – Inhibitor – Remains of the inhibitor torches and the gas cooler in the cavernous Cell 4 exhaust chamber

As you can see from my photos I don’t go for the usual style of Urbex photography. If you’ve not seen this style before, it’s called Light Painting and involves various light sources (including plenty of strobes) and usually long exposures (several minutes or more in most cases). I hope you enjoy my own unique take on a location that has been photographed many times before.

Further Reading

And finally, a few HDR’s to finish off with…




#8 – Sci-Pye – Cell 4 bleed duct manifold
#9 – My Biggest Fan – Extractor fan in Cell 4 at sunrise
#10 – The Wonky Chair incident – Fun in the Plant House

1 comment

#1MuddyJune 3, 2013, 6:36 pm

Said it before and I’ll say it again. This has to be one of the most original Pye reports out there. Top work!

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