The Laboratory was a purpose built facility to prepare shells for firing. Its design incorporates a number of safety features to help prevent the accidental ignition of highly explosive gunpowder.
Located high on clifftops overlooking The Needles, the Old Needles Battery was built during the 1860s to guard the approaches of the western Solent from encroachment by enemy ships. It was subsequently used for coastal defence in both the First and Second World Wars. Today it remains a Grade II listed site under the stewardship of the National Trust.