The redevelopment of the site is now nearly finished. I appreciate this is only slightly ammo related but it was a major factory there is a video on the bottom of the first page on the right hand side which gives you a chance to see the old buildings and what they have done with them. They have managed to keep the fabric of the old arsenal quite well. Plans for a museum as well I believe. A much better option than just to tear the whole lot down. I think its been handled quite well. It shows how history can be incorporated into the modern context.
At least some of the buildings were saved. Usually anything on any land that becomes available in London is demolished to make way for endless blocks of flats.
I bet it was a major clearance and decontamination job. Apparently at this type of site they have to search all the drains and every inch of the building for leftover explosives. I was told that this process at Priddy’s Hard in Portsmouth, which is now the Explosion museum, took years.
It does take a lot of time to clear drain lines. The usual procedure is to determine which drain lines lead from buildings in which explosives or propellents were handled or processed (including some which are not actually manufacturing buildings, such as locker rooms with showers for those employees who worked in explosive-containing areas), thread detcord into them as far as possible (this may require some careful excavation) and detonate. Depending upon the facility location, that can become very complicated, involving detailed planning, obtaining required approvals, shutting down traffic on nearby highways, etc. Not a project to be taken lightly, but often there is no good alternative.