Development of former Spitfire factory cleared for take-off

The iconic Spitfire

The site of the former Supermarine factory that built Word War II’s iconic Spitfire aircraft has recently been given clearance for redevelopment to commence following a comprehensive survey for unexploded ordnance (UXO) by Fellows International.

Now called Spitfire Quay, the site in Southampton on the UK’s south coast was home to the factory that designed and manufactured the prototype Supermarine Spitfire in 1936 before going on to produce hundreds more of the single-seater fighter plane.

Following an initial requirement for 310 aircraft, the Air Ministry’s order became open-ended to cope with the constant need to replace planes shot down in conflicts such as the Battle of Britain.  Reaching the peak of production in 1940, the factory became a key target for bombing raids by the German Luftwaffe and was destroyed with the loss of 100 lives during two daylight raids in September of that year.

Southampton City Council’s map of bomb strikes around
 the Wolston area

As a result of the multiple attacks on the factory and neighbouring dockyard structures, the area had, to this day, a very high likelihood of concealing UXO, with the Luftwaffe having regularly dropped a wide variety of devices including parachute mines, HE bombs, incendiary and oil bombs.

Following geographical and geological data analysis, Fellows conducted a wide and thorough survey of the area using a magnetometer cone for Cone Penetrometer Testing (CPT).  This  provided the essential data and actions that would enable the site to be declared clear and safe for development.