Weedon depot's 'time machine' opens to the public

Michael Chittenden and Jim Harker cut the ribbon
Michael Chittenden and Jim Harker cut the ribbon

After three years of planning and work, Weedon's historic Royal Ordnance Depot's visitor centre opens to the public today.

The project was helped by a grant from the National Lottery Fund whose representative Jim Harker was on hand to cut the ribbon alongside the depot's owner Michael Chittenden at the VIP launch yesterday afternoon.

Far Post Design r

Far Post Design r

Addressing the guests gathered outside building 90, Mr Chittenden told the crowd the new centre would act as the site's time machine, offering visitors the chance to walk through the ages and learn more about the depot's rich history.

"When I first came to this site I thought 'wow, what an amazing place'," said Mr Chittenden.

"Every time I come here I imagine what went on here for the past 200 years.

"There were over 2,000 people based here at one time."

The visitor centre is packed full of information about the history of the depot

The visitor centre is packed full of information about the history of the depot

He added: "I thought wouldn't it be great to have a time machine or a Tardis where you could go back and see those days.

"We didn't manage to sort out a time machine so we created a visitor centre, which really is our time machine.

"The idea is to walk around the visitor centre and walk through the ages room by room and really imagine what this place must have been like."

Far Post Design Limited, who specialise in projects of this nature, have recreated the centre to make it look like how it was in the 1950s.

A cake in the form of the visitor centre was made for the launch

A cake in the form of the visitor centre was made for the launch

The mini-museum even features Ministry of Defence ceiling lights which were specially sourced for the project.

"We were trying to bring things back to life," said Michael Cashman, director of Far Post Design.

"The difficulty with trying to create the visitor centre was giving it that right look to take you back in time."

Freelance heritage consultant Kate Andrew, who contributed to the project, said: "This is a way of getting people interested in the depot and gives people the opportunity to come and visit it."