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Portland Breakwater

Portland, Dorset

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The above image is copyright Dorset County Council 2000 and is reproduced here with permission.

This area covers Balaclava Bay - the coastline to the south of the Breakwater and the derelict buildings of the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment (AUWE).

The Weymouth to Portland Railway passed through this area as it climbed up the long track to Easton.

Please click here for the OS Explorer 1:25,000 map of this area and click here for a detailed street map. In both cases click the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.

Balaclava Bay and the southern arm of Portland Breakwater.

A scene from the late 1980s when R D V CRYSTAL was moored near the 'Hood Entrance' of Portland breakwater.

An un-powered barge, this was used for sonar calibration and other acoustic research until scrapped.

At this point where the long Incline Road meets the ex-Naval Dockyard was a bridge over which the railway line passed.

I travelled over this bridge on the last ever train between Weymouth and Portland.

The red brick buildings in the background are the deserted AUWE Sonar Department research laboratories and offices.

A view looking up Incline Road. The railway track ran on the viaduct on the right and over the road.

On the left are the deserted AUWE research buildings.

The ex-AUWE buildings photographed in late 2002.

Sadly derelict, it is a shame that no company has yet taken them over and brought them back to life.

It was from this building that ship, aircraft and submarine sonar systems were researched from World War 2 (when it was the Underwater Detection Establishment) until the mid-1990s when it was DERA.

All the work has now been moved to Winfrith and Farnborough under the wing of QinetiQ - see http://www.qinetiq.com 

Within a few metres of this spot is the point where the Portland Breakwater meets the Mainland.

The abandoned buildings of AUWE(N) seen from the foot of the Verne Prison ramparts.

Now derelict, it was from these buildings that all the world- beating sonar research and developments came from the 1940s until the 1990s when research was mainly moved to the nearby Winfrith Technology Park.

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