pyestock | something old, something new

Yes! Found it! Following the light lead us to a small room, three sides covered in 1950s dials, lights and switches. A lone teak desk stood in the centre of the room, fitting in perfectly with the multi-coloured, patterned wooden floor.

Behind this room, a glass connecting corridor led into the Power Station, disappearing into a dark corridor with circular skylights. Whilst I used to compare the western side of Pyestock (the Air House and test cells) with Gerry Anderson Supermarionation classics (Thunderbirds et al), the Power Station control room was far older, evoking memories of black and white Flash Gordon serials, harking back to a valve driven, hot and dusty, big electronic era.

It was almost impossible to photograph and capture and we spent a while photographing the room from different angles. But now, I was trying to save what little juice was left in the camera for the Power Station turbine hall.

Also the sun was starting to set, the shadows were lengthening. I took some low angle, and portrait shots, just to try and capture something of this time warp wary that the camera was starting to struggle. (It would be annoying, but oddly appropriate, if the camera died in the Power Station).

As Marlon and Tom continued to look over the control room, I quietly slipped into the corridor and held open a door to the turbine hall. The cold wind hit me as I listened intently. The banging was random, there were no voices, and from my position I couldn’t see anyone. I opened the door enough to slide silently into the space and waited. The banging, clicking, snapping and other metallic noises continued as fans, loose slats in vents, and some loose metal on the exterior of the building thudded and crashed.

There was no-one here: it was simply the wind. I surveyed the scene. After the splendor of the Air House, and the magnificent test cells, the Power Station (pre-dating those structures) was a disappointment in terms of size. It was no larger than Number 10 Exhauster. The turbine hall consisted of the usual crane, winch, loading bay and a single generator. The most interesting item in the hall was an indicator panel; crafted by Metropolitan Vickers, it resembled a ship’s telemotor and just reeked of 1950s styling and ancient electronics.

If I could pick one thing from Pyestock, I would take this; it was simply remarkably funky.