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Old Firework Factory Locations


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#1 concept

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 06:25 PM

[size=3]Hi all this is just a quick list of firework factory addresses and the status of the factory, feel free to add any info or make corrections.
[/size]

ASTRA

Factory at Sandwich, Kent Demolished

Other factories Unknown



BENWELL

Factory at Draycott Unknown

Factory at Chedbrough Suffolk abandoned partially demolished (Google maps co-ordinates 52.188786, 0.619869)



BROCK'S

Factory at Hemel Hempstead Demolished now the woodhill farm housing estate.

Factory at Sanquhar scotland active, now an explosive factory (DG4 6JP)

Factory at Swaffham Norfolk Demolished, now the Ecotech Business & Innovation Park



Standard

Factory at Crosland hill Huddersfield Partly demolished, fireworks no longer produced. (HD4 7AD)



Wallop

Factory at Stockbridge Active now a munitions factory (SO20 8DX)



Wells

Factory at Joyce Green Dartford Abandoned (Google maps co-ordinates 51.468559, 0.217152)

Edited by concept, 04 September 2008 - 06:29 PM.


#2 pyrotechnist

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:12 PM

I think Benwell is still going but as a military pyrotechnics company. I cannot see much of the Benwell factory in Chedbrough, is all that exists is 4 or 5 buildings?
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#3 Firefiend

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 04:18 PM

Pain's

Factory at Mitcham, Surrey Housing estate built on the old site.

Pains Factory - Mitcham

The factory gates can just be made out in the lower centre part of this picture. I remember passing them on many occasions as they were there for many years after the factory closed in about 1965, until the early 1970's when the estate was built. Some kids had a field day with the 'left-overs' on the site as the security was pretty lapse:

Pain's Firework Factory at Mitcham - Factory Gates

I believe that some of the roads in the estate were named after the directors of the company.

Brock's

Factory at Sutton, Surrey - Housing estate built on old site. Centre line of old factory is now called Brock's Drive.

Brock's Factory at Sutton

#4 pyrotechnist

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 07:51 PM

Does anyone have any old pictures of these factory sites? its a shame they have gone :(
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#5 Firefiend

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:54 PM

A few are shown in Fireworks Magazine from time-to-time.

#6 RFD

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:06 PM

Astra"s old sandwich site is not too far away from me, and i remember the dozens of small sheds seperated by panels of corragated iron,in the 70s they were quite large employers in the area,as said in a earlier post most of it demolished and factory units are in one end of the site, at the other end by the power station there are a few remainig sheds and the two storage bunkers, rumour has it the doorways to the bunkers were just backfilled complete with contents,might just get my spade out one day!

#7 pyrotechnist

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 05:30 PM

Do you have a google map link to the old site RFD?
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#8 RFD

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 06:30 PM

No i havnt pyrotechnist,but Richborough power station, (now being demolished but they are gonna leave the towers up) guesing if you can see those,whats left of the site is to the left of the towers with a new duel carriageway running parallel to it,depending how its shown,the bunkers might show from above but they covered in some awesome brambles,not planning to get the digging out as well are you.

#9 pyrotechnist

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 08:24 PM

is it this part http://maps.google.c...e...mp;t=h&z=18

or this one

http://maps.google.c...e...mp;t=h&z=18
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#10 RFD

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 10:46 PM

Either will do pyro,just have to move em around a bit,if you pick up the cooling towers wich are on A256 Ramsgate road theres a long triagular shape piece of land with buildings at the narrowest end and goes right up to the edge of the towers,the storage bunkers are at the towers end,my pc graphics are a bit crap but you can see most of the building floors left and a couple of buildings hanging on,it was a very big sight in its day,cant remember when it closed down but did have a ex girlfriend that worked there for a while,apparently she packed it in cause they kept taking her cigerettes and lighter away at the gate,CANT IMAGINE WHAT FOR!!!!

#11 pyrotechnist

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:45 AM

These Clicky are the bunkers you are talking about? covered up by trees. Would love to know whats in them if anything anymore, maybe you should dig them out lol.
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#12 GZ22

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 11:06 AM

I doubt that there would any stable products in them by now, but there could certainly be some excellent 'firework museum' pieces in them if they do indeed actually contain anything! Perhaps UKPS could approach the owners of the site to seek permission for a dig?
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#13 spectrum

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 09:41 PM

These Clicky are the bunkers you are talking about? covered up by trees. Would love to know whats in them if anything anymore, maybe you should dig them out lol.



I can shed a little light on this picture.

The construction approximately 40mm to the right of the minus sign on the sliding scale was a powder magazine together with the one just above the word "infoterra".

These were mounded up on three sides and measured approximately 8ft square. There was around 5 - 6ft of headroom as I recall. The strange thing was that each magazine had double doors, when you opened one set there was another immediately behind it.

The doors opened onto the River Stour which is what you can just about see on the left hand side of the picture.

These magazines were used for storing bought-in powders, we used to use a lot of gunpowder and, in the earlier days, electric igniters although new stores were built later on elsewhere on site.

Above these about halfway up the sliding scale on the LHS are two more mounded enclosures, this was the "dump" where factory waste was burned off, the first one was for inert waste the upper one for live. The burns were a bit lively to say the least on occassion!

The magazines were blockwork built and rough rendered, they looked ancient but this end of the factory was not where Astra originated, and I believe they were added to the place in later years, if I were to hazard a guess I might say in the 1950's - but this WOULD be a guess.

I'm sorry to disappoint you lot but there is nothing in there. When the place was decontaminated these two places were absolutely gutted, the linings and floors were ripped out just as they needed to be.

As an aside. The place was built on what was once a former re-settlement camp for dis-possessed aliens, i.e. Jews etc. at the outbreak of WW2. persons who were alien to the U.K. but who couldn't be re-patriated were accomodated there. It was also part of a larger collection of camps built to handle outgoing troops leaving England for France.

Included in these installations were magazines for ammunition, presumably destined for overseas conflict and awaiting despatch along with the unfortunate and incredibly brave young men assembled in these parts. I recall as a young lad working there, being sent across the river to conduct live firing tests deemed too dangerous for the tight confines of the site. In the course of doing so, one of the elders of the factory, a chap called Larry Oliver - very knowledgeable (I wish I had listened more to him!!!) told me about the wartime magazines and had me look around on the opposite banks for evidence of them, their location had been long lost and he was keen to establish whether or not they had been there.

There were some remains there, I couldn't say what they were though, as for the two gunpowder magazines - I understand on very good authority that owing to the way they were mounded some of the lazier chaps in the factory used to skive away from their duties and sunbathe on the roofs.

#14 pyrotechnist

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 09:59 PM

Have you managed to upload your pictures Spectrum of these sites? would like to see how it looked in its former glory compared to the now dis-assembled state. I wonder why the bunkers remain yet the rest is gone accept that large white building near the carriage way.

What exactly is the white roofed building within the site?

Edited by pyrotechnist, 24 November 2008 - 10:04 PM.

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#15 spectrum

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 10:47 PM

Have you managed to upload your pictures Spectrum of these sites? would like to see how it looked in its former glory compared to the now dis-assembled state. I wonder why the bunkers remain yet the rest is gone accept that large white building near the carriage way.

What exactly is the white roofed building within the site?



I really will try and get it all on the site. I could use some assistance as I am not computer literate. To answer your questions:

The building with the white roof was the military packing bay. It is still there but completely overgrown - you would struggle to get near it now.

I would imagine that the reason for this building being kept is that (a) it was not affected by contamination like the other buildings on site - remember this is the reason for taking such places down and it is a condition which needs to be met when determining a license and (B) the building was very versatile in design and could have been used for virtually any industrial application unlike the small, specialised assembly bays which covered the site.

There are another two buildings on site which remain but they don't show up that well, they are below the bunkers you can see and are positioned just in from the rivers edge. These were the Firework packing bay and a larger military finished goods magazine, building number 46 on the old plan.

I rambled across the place a year back with a friend and was able to identify, albeit with some difficulty, the various places as they were from the patches of concrete left on the ground. I tracked down the R and D lab where I worked and, again with some difficulty, could make out the remains of red floor paint I put down in 1988 just before I left the place to go and work at BMARCo in Grantham and Faldingworth.




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