Admiralty Research Laboratory - Upper Lodge (ARL U/L)

The site known as Upper Lodge, was situated in the northwest corner of Bushy Park, and accessible by road from Hampton Hill High Street, also from Teddington and Hampton Court via the road through the park, Chestnut Avenue.

The lodge and the surrounding area that included some substantial wooden buildings became the annex of the Admiralty Research Laboratory based in Queens Road, Teddington in 1945, known as ARL Upper Lodge - commonly abbreviated to 'ARL U/L'. Upper Lodge was the last part of ARL to close as it remained in use for defence research until the end of 1993, at that time known simply as "DRA Teddington".

.Southern aspect
Southern side of the lodge in 1992

Early Occupants

An early occupant of the lodge at U/L was what was (previously) known as the Admiralty Photographic and Instrument Research Laboratories (APIRL) that was relocated, upon amalgamation with ARL in 1949, from 21 The Boltons, Kensington. The ex-APIRL staff became members of the Instruments Group (K-Group) with an existing member of ARL staff, Harry Margary, appointed their Group Leader.

21 The Boltons - until 1949 the Admiralty Photographic and Instrument Research Laboratories (APIRL)


Site History

This ARL site took its name from the lodge, which dates from the 1840s, built in the location of two previous lodges; the original lodge built in the 16th century was rebuilt in 1709 for Charles Montagu, First Earl of Halifax.

The lodge became known as the 'Upper Lodge' in the late 18th century as it stood in the area designated as Upper Bushy Park. The name of the lodge (built 1664, designed by William Samwell) in Lower Bushy Park has changed from 'Lower Lodge' to Bushy House, which from 1900 was used by the National Physical Laboratory.

After Hampton Court Palace ceased to be a royal residence the 'Upper Lodge' became one of the grace and favour suites at the disposal of the sovereign with the official name of "Charles II's Lodge".

During WWI King George V gave permission for wooden buildings to be erected in the grounds and the site became the Kings Canadian Hospital for the convalescence of wounded Canadian troops.

From 1919 to the mid-1930s it was the Kings Canadian Camp School, a residential open air school for under-nourished children with respiratory diseases from London's East End, run by the London County Council (LCC).

Around 1942 the Upper Lodge site was taken over by the Air Ministry and occupied by American troops of the 8th US Army Air Force, as was a sizeable portion of Bushy Park.

In 1945 the site was transferred to the Admiralty to become an annex of the Admiralty Research Laboratory in Queens Road, Teddington.

The Ministry of Defence relinquished the site lease to Crown Estates in 1994; the site, then known as DRA Teddington, having ceased to be used on 23rd December 1993.


One topic in which APIRL specialised was underwater still and cine photography. Such were the advancements made in this area that a naval liaison officer, Lt Jim Hodges who was a qualified RN diver, was appointed to the staff of ARL. Further, APIRL called upon the services of Lt Cdr Lionel 'Buster' Crabb when the occasion demanded. However in the early days of May 1951 the roles were reversed, as Lionel Crabb knew that a young Scientific Officer named Walter Rosse Stamp (known as Rosse and by then a member of ARL's K-Group) was embarked upon an investigation into the possibilities and problems of using the medium of television for remote underwater viewing, building upon his considerable expertise in the science and engineering behind underwater still and cine photography. As a young lad, Rosse was fortunate enough to have his own workshop where he constructed his own cameras from scratch including grinding his own lenses. Rosse was a very rare scientist indeed, possessing an abundance of commonsense and skilled in mechanical and electrical engineering. More on underwater television systems and the search for HMS/M ARRAY.

Ex-APIRL staff outside the Lodge circa 1949

Rosse Stamp is seated on the right-hand end. Seated third from the left is Raymond (Ray) P. Coghlan who was the L-Group Section Leader for the development of SOAP - prototype Sonar 2007.



Hydrodynamic Research Facilities

These facilities were purpose-built within the Upper Lodge site, in the 1950s, to further the ARL research into the motion and control of ships, submarines and torpedoes, in order to establish the underlying science of their behaviour for the purpose of in-service improvements and future designs. This work was undertaken by the staff of the Fluid Dynamics Group, renamed Hydrodynamics Group in 1960 - internally designated G-Group.

A 12" Water Tunnel was constructed in an existing building behind what had been the servants accommodation.

The 12" dimension refers to the size of the working section of the facility where the models under investigation were positioned. This tunnel and the later 30" tunnel allowed models to be assessed in a pressurised water flow; both flow-rate and pressure (to simulate operation at depth) could be varied over a range.

An early pump-jet model mounted in the working section of the 12"? Water Tunnel

Rotating Beam Channel

With the concept proven by the initial version used at Upper Lodge that was 10ft in diameter, the design and construction of a much larger facility was sanctioned. The opportunity was taken to build new offices and a 30" Water Tunnel at the same time.

Members of ARL's G-Group outside their office block at Upper Lodge circa 1960


A high-angle view of a model under test moving through the water channel courtesy of the rotating arm of the RBC





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