British Antarctic Survey Research Station gets special delivery from Shropshire firm

A Shropshire company is supporting research into climate change by providing specialist soundproof doors to a British research station in Antarctica.

British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station
British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station

Market Drayton-based company Washington and Riley has produced high-level acoustic doors and fittings for the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station. The doors will be fitted onto a new state-of-the-art polar research building at Rothera, the Discovery Building.

The new scientific and operations facility will support polar scientists who undertake vital research into climate change and biodiversity.

The unusual order, of 36 doors and fittings, is being shipped to the Falklands Islands and then on to the Rothera Research Station, situated on Adelaide Island to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The new doors will be fitted in 2023 as building in Antarctica is complex, with every single nut and bolt needing to be sourced many months in advance, as the nearest hardware store is many thousands of miles away. It is envisaged that the building will be complete by 2024.

Rob Thomas, production manager at Washington and Riley, said: “We’ve never had such a far-flung order for our doors before as we are far more used to supplying and fitting doors in the UK for customers such as NHS hospitals.

“The high specifications for the order came from BAM Nuttall, a leading UK civil engineering and construction company, and partner in the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP).

"The unique requirements, including acoustic doors with noise reduction rates of around 43 decibels, is a very unusual order, together with ironmongery and all the fittings that go with them. We’ve supplied everything needed to assemble the doors on site, together with instructions.

“We waved them off on a large lorry bound for the port of Hull. It’s amazing to think these doors will be fitted more than 10,000 miles away in Antarctica at a British base carrying-out research into climate change – the most important issue of our time.”

Washington and Riley is a specialist supplier and installer of fire doors in the UK. The company, based at the Maer Lane Industrial Estate, also carries out building and maintenance work across the West Midlands and beyond.

The company is owned by four directors who instigated a management buy-out if the historic business in 2015.

At the time, the four, Martin Hammond Snr, his son Martin Hammond Junior, Anthony Hammond and Jason Thompson, were the only employees, but they’ve grown the business to a 23-strong workforce and have staff and have plans for further expansion.

A new trade counter opened at the Llewellyn Roberts Way offices and workshop on November 1.

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