OS staff history

Facing SE towards the main buildings from the Mound
Facing SE towards the main buildings from the Mound

This site contains historic photos and memories about Ordnance Survey and its staff, buildings, equipment and more.

NOTE: this site is completely unofficial and is not endorsed or associated with Ordnance Survey. I’m a former member of staff and the content has been contributed by myself and other former/retired staff. While it is specifically about Ordnance Survey’s operations, some of the information here will be of wider interest as part of the history of Southampton.

This started as a place to store all my photos and research about the history of post-war operations at Crabwood/Maybush but is very much under construction. As I am building a 3D model of the Maybush HQ then this material is a vital source of information but will also hopefully include content from other sources. 

Many of the headings below do not have any content yet so the links aren’t live.

NEW – Christmas at Ordnance Survey



Maybush construction/redevelopment

William Roy Building (Central Block)

The William Roy Building (WRB) – originally known as Central Block – was designed to house the entire map production process – from drawing to printing. It served this role until March 2011, at which point is was formally vacated. It was demolished in spring/summer 2012.

West Block

Originally designed to store large reserves of paper maps, back when large scale products were published in this way. More recently, the upper floors were used to house IT Services, Photogrammetric Services and various administrative departments. West block was eventually demolished in 2012, as part of the site’s redevelopment.

North Block (Compass House)

Staff Restaurant

Arguably the most important building at the Maybush site was the Staff Restaurant with its iconic domed roof. It was a single-storey building constructed in 1967 and had full-height glazing on the external elevations from the main dining area, making it a light and airy space. Behind this was a large fully-equipped commercial kitchen with a clerestory roof.

Uploaded 14 June 2010 by Ian Corps
Servery area

Services Block

Services Block was a large single-story double-height building located to the rear of Maybush site. It had no physical connection to the rest of the building (except for underground services).

Boiler House

Location of the main heating and cooling equipment for the entire Maybush complex; while not a separate building, it was attached to a corner between the WRB and West Block.


The Substation was a small building near F core that controlled the incoming power supply for the entire Maybush complex.

Crabwood House

Crabwood House is a Grade II listed building that was requisitioned by Ordnance Survey during World War II and was used for accommodation/training until the new Maybush building opened. It was then used as the home of the Ordnance Survey Sports and Social Club (OSSSC) and had a bar and rooms for various social clubs. It was mothballed in the early 2000s and has recently been converted to flats.

The grounds

The Maybush buildings were surrounded by attractive landscaping, including ornamental trees and ample space for outdoor activities. Needless to say there were also several extensive car parks but the main focal point of the grounds is ‘The Mound’, a ‘bund’ of earth that was excavated during construction of the building foundations and crowned with a trig pillar.

OSO Crabwood (huts)

(1940s to 1990s)

London Road

til late 1960s


OSO Chessington (1940s to late 1960s)

Field offices


Explorer House

(2010 to now)

Systems and equipment

From survey to carto, to repro to IT and comms…and much more



Charity fundraising

Bicentenary Fete

Royal visits

People and memories


Videos, documents and more…