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Old Firework Factory Locations


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#16 spectrum

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 11:04 PM

You can add to the list:

Rainbow Fireworks in Finchampstead, Berkshire

Guys Fireworks in Calverley, Leeds

Lion Fireworks, Lepton, Huddersfield

Brocks also had a factory in Skelmersdale, I have an old picture of the place taken from the air. This one was used to prove the inside safety distances when it was decommissioned and I understand that the inspectorate performed a number of controlled explosions which were filmed.

I would welcome any offers of assistance (pm me privately please) in uploading some of the pics I have. Film of this last place would be a real find.

I mention the gentleman I had the privelidge of working under, Larry Oliver in a previous post.

Larry worked around the industry, every place except Standard I understand. He was a mine of information. I had in my possession until very recently a list of all the factories larry was acquainted with, he signed the bottom of the list and it was headed "Fireworks Factories". I assume from this that it was produced for someone in response to a formal request.

Larry listed all the places, the dates they were established and when they closed along with other info such as the reasons for closure etc. I have never been able to track down "Reliance Snap" where they produced christmas cracker snaps before they begun to import them. There are other places I have managed to track down, the Bickford Fuse factory in Tuckingmills in Cornwall for example in addition to the various ammunition and gunpowder works.

#17 RFD

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 09:24 AM

Most excellent post Spectum,ime glad you have confirmed the lack of buried materials i realy didnt fancy taking on those brambles,although it always seemed strange that building land down here is a premium and nobody wanted to build on that end of the site,probably just added to the myth,incidently whats left of the railhead bridge is still sticking out of the mud in the river ,i believe this was for the disembarkation of munitions and troops during ww1,its a pity i didnt take more notice when this site closed down im sure there were an awful lot of goodies to be had,there was or is a gent producing fireworks on "The Loop" near manston airport not sure if its still going, possibly if it is they may some more local info,will have a wander up there when time permits

#18 pyrotechnist

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:45 AM

I have sent you a PM spectrum, lots of good information. I wish standard didn't take down their buildings as they contained tons of goodies waiting to be skipped with some of them being:

Rocket presses
Spindles
Some old roman candle loading machines.
Sieves
Tubs
other bits of machinery.

I Just wish I had gotten more from their :(. Now its a car park for their lorries, I suspect they are downscaling to sell part of their site for housing development.


Btw is this were the old Brocks factory used to be in Skelmersdale Clicky

Edited by pyrotechnist, 25 November 2008 - 12:19 PM.

fireworks is my aim setting of is the game

#19 phildunford

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:49 AM

Very informative and fascinating post Spectrum.

Nice to hear from someone who knows the facts first-hand...
Teaching moft plainly, and withall moft exactly, the composing of all manner of fire-works for tryumph and recreation (John Bate 1635)
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#20 GZ22

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 05:00 PM

The Loop? That'll be Malcolm Armstrong T/A TPL then.
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#21 spectrum

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 07:33 PM

Most excellent post Spectum,ime glad you have confirmed the lack of buried materials i realy didnt fancy taking on those brambles,although it always seemed strange that building land down here is a premium and nobody wanted to build on that end of the site,probably just added to the myth,incidently whats left of the railhead bridge is still sticking out of the mud in the river ,i believe this was for the disembarkation of munitions and troops during ww1,its a pity i didnt take more notice when this site closed down im sure there were an awful lot of goodies to be had,there was or is a gent producing fireworks on "The Loop" near manston airport not sure if its still going, possibly if it is they may some more local info,will have a wander up there when time permits


As you entered the Astra factory on the LHS there was a long building which ran at right angles to the road. This was the engineers shop and was one of the older buildings on site. Consequently there were stacks of old stuff left behind after the site shut.

Much of the stuff was stored in the loft cavity of this single story building and, after the place shut, this place was ransacked and many of the goodies were left strewn about the floor, thousands of old banger tubes and I picked up a VERY old portfire tube which appealed to me simply because of its rarity - I doubt I will ever see one again (I won't see that one either because I lost it!)

I know about the old bridge and you are right - a place of such enormous consequence just left standing there ignored. There were old level crossing gates on the original Ramsgate - Sandwich road, they are still there I should imagine behind the filling station. These served the railway which led those unfortunate enough to be leaving their country through Richborough Port from the very bridge you mention.

I believe that at this time (WW1) explosive magazines were in service somewhere down there (these are the remains I refer to in the previous post that Larry Oliver had me looking about for) and it was these, along with other factors, which supported the decision of Messrs Lax and Yellins to found the Astra factory on this site.

I described in a previous post the time capsule in the form of the former internees barracks based at the very opposite end of the factory. This place, the "H" block contained all of the redundant display boards and obsolete tubes - thousands of them, from the beginning of the companies history.

#22 Arthur Brown

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 10:38 PM

Anyone for a research project at the National Archive (public records office) in Kew?

Look up all the licences held under the 1875 act under the auspices of the factories inspectorate before the creation of the HSE. There has to be a UK firework history project there just to look up and write up all the old licensed factory sites. The "freedom of information" act may assist unless the premises are still active and classified.
http://www.movember.com/uk/home/

Keep mannequins and watermelons away from fireworks..they always get hurt..

#23 RFD

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 10:54 PM

Am i right in thinking the old gates are still there and what maybe a few prefab buildindgs with cement/asbestos roofs all the others are new builds,very interesting about the barracks,years ago a friend and i had a wander around with a metal detector on the other side of the river,if memory serves we dug up piles of 303 ammo and a mortar bomb,strange how we went right off the idea when that appeared,when i was teenager i used to do a bit of rabbiting behind the power station and the old railway line ran parallel with the power station right up to old sandwich rd am pretty sure the rail is still there but buried now and the crossing gates are gone,funny how these things pass you bye till you start thinking about them,still nostalgia"s nothing like it used to be.

#24 amandaf2115

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:54 PM

Are you still looking for old pictures of the Brocks Site at Swaffham?

Amanda

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



#25 crystal palace fireworks

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:03 AM

Are you still looking for old pictures of the Brocks Site at Swaffham?

Amanda



I too would be interested in old pictures of the Brock`s site in Swaffham!

#26 amandaf2115

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:49 AM

ok when Mum and Dad get the photos out I will get copies and then if you send me your address i can send them to you too!
Hope that this is OK?

I too would be interested in old pictures of the Brock`s site in Swaffham!



#27 Rip Rap

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 09:43 AM

ok when Mum and Dad get the photos out I will get copies and then if you send me your address i can send them to you too!
Hope that this is OK?


Could you possibly upload them to http://pyrobin.com/ please? Then many more interested parties could view them, with little or no expense to yourself ;)

Cheers.
"Choose a job that you love & you will never do a days work in your life!"

#28 amandaf2115

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:32 PM

i will have a go when i get them. ok?

Could you possibly upload them to http://pyrobin.com/ please? Then many more interested parties could view them, with little or no expense to yourself ;)

Cheers.



#29 pyrotechnist

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 12:18 PM

By the way, sorry to drag this old thread back up from the grave, but how many construction buildings where they in the old Astra factory and where they Apex based buildings or Pent construction? I just cannot get my head around the way the concrete looks on the ground to how the buildings where separated from each other.
fireworks is my aim setting of is the game

#30 exat808

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 02:52 PM

I have a number of original reports by HM Inspectors of Explosives some over 100 years old. A quick look into the report for 1911 states that 23 factories in GB were licensed to manufacture fireworks and an additional 10 were designated Toy Firework Factories.
Looking at the list of reported accidents for the year 1911 there are very few firework related (as compared to hundred or so for gunpowder used in mines and quarries at the time)-
16march - 4 persons injured charging rockets at Allen, Jessop & Sons Huddersfield
21march - small fire whilst pressing red star composition - New Explosives Co, Stowmarket
23june - 1 dead 6 killed in firework celebration for coronation. firework thrown into bonfire at Sligo Quay
22june - 2 injured in display to celebrate coronation - a "wheel of fortune" ignited uncovered fireworks in a box - hebburn Durham
21june - 1 injured - unlawful manufacture of maroons - flintshire
7july - fire in building containing waste mix of potassium chlorate and aluminium - brocks, crystal palace fireworks, surrey
12july - 1 killed 1 injured - possibly due to a sensitive mix of stars falling from a bench and igniting gp cases - J Petty lancashire
31 july - 1 injured - silver fulminate for snaps exploded - diamond cosaque ltd, essex
8sept - fireworks drying in open air ignited in hot weather - J Pain, Surrey
9sept - explosion in drying house - brocks, surrey
21sept - jewel fountain ignited whilst being charged - cause split drift - brocks surrey
25oct - 4 killed - bengal matches being dried ignited and then ignited other fireworks - registered premises in surrey

Edited by exat808, 26 June 2010 - 04:18 PM.





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