This site in Hayes was created in 1907 for The Gramophone and Typewriter Company, an American manufacturer of the first domestic gramophone players. The "record players" in those days were carefully crafted in wooden cabinets. As the company grew it began to press its own records (using a shellac-based compound before vinyl was introduced) and released them under the new label His Master’s Voice (HMV).More buildings were added as manufacturing expanded despite a break during the First World War for munitions production.
By 1929 the site covered more than 58 acres, with 7,500 people employed there & in 1931 the company merged with the Columbia Graphophone Company, to create Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI).The manufacture of radios, televisions, fridges and other domestic appliances followed plus the world’s first airborne radar system – used to win the Battle of Britain, was developed here.The site was bombed in 1944, killing 37 workers.
In 1952 EMI released its first vinyl 33rpm albums as well as 7 inch singles.In 1962 EMI subsidiary Parlophone signed the Beatles whereby all the records were manufactured here by an onsite workforce which totalled 14,000 people. The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley & Cliff Richard were just some of the other acts to have records pressed at this plant.
EMI moved its operations elsewhere in the mid 1970’s and many of the buildings on the site moved over to defence electronics development and production.Two buildings on the site (not pictured here) were g were renovated in recent years and now occupied as high spec offices served by a substantial surface car park
Plans propose to turn the derelict part of the site (pictured here) into a phased £250 million programme to create a mixed-use development - business space, up to 510 new homes, a multiplex cinema, restaurants, cafés and bars, car parking and landscaped public space.Some of the older industrial buildings will be refurbished and brought back into use. The Powerhouse will become the home of the new combined heat and power scheme for the entire site, and the home of a live music venue and a museum celebrating The Old Vinyl Factory’s industrial and cultural history.
HAYES, UB3 - BENLOW WORKS (The Orchestrelle/Aeolian Pianola Piano Factory)
Purchased from a farmer in 1908 this factory building was erected the following year.
The original purpose of the factory was to produce Orchestrelle organ players - a reed organ constructed on the principle of the mechanical player piano and designed to imitate the effect of an orchestra. Aeolian also had a manufacturing plant in Gotha, Germany. In 1912, the Orchestrelle Company was transformed into a public limited company registered in Britain, and after the Great War it expanded considerably, By 1920 it had effectively changed its name to Aeolian, in line with the American parent company.
A perforated music roll factory was erected in 1910, and a six-storey building and was built at in rear in 1920 to accommodate a piano factory.These buildings were demolished in 1977.
Trade declined in the early 1930s and this original building from 1909 was bought after the Second World War by a property owner named Benny Lowenthal, and he renamed it the Benlow Works after himself.Over the years Kraft Cheese and Walls Sausages and Meat Pies used the premises.
Today this Edwardian Grade II listed building looks a sorry unloved state with many broken and boarded up windows. Partially derelict, there are some parts of the building still in use by a sheet metal works.According to English Heritage, recent temporary repairs have been undertaken by the owner, so that the building is in a weather tight condition but no solution has been agreed for future use as yet.
DERELICT WAREHOUSE - ISLE OF DOGS, E14
A rare sight so close to Canary Wharf. This derelict building and the adjacent plot of wasteland hadn't gone unnoticed and is subject to a planning application for a hi-rise tower block. A few months later this was demolished.
CLAPHAM - BORG AND RANALLI
These are the remains of the workshops of Borg and Ranalli who built marble products. In 1910 it is believed that Spencer a banjo makers had their workshop here.
SILVERTOWN E16 - Millenium Mills
Built in the 1930s to replace earlier granaries and mills, the Millennium Mills were one of the largest (flour) mill complexes ever to be built in London. Industry in the docklands area of London began to decline in the 1980s, however, and this complex of reinforced concrete granaries finally succumbed in 1992 when Spillers Milling Limited moved out, transferring staff and production to their mill at Tilbury Docks.
Since then the building has made frequent appearances on television, recent examples being in a trailer for the drama series Life on Mars, and as a backdrop for a Derren Brown programme featuring Robbie Williams.This building was also used in the opening series of Ashes to Ashes
Developers plan to build 5000 new homes on this site and to convert the Millennium Mills into loft-style apartments. Many of these homes will have views over the Royal Docks and the River Thames. They may also enjoy the more dubious benefit of aircraft noise from the adjacent London City Airport.
Steve Dicken writes to Derelict London : "I was an apprentice at this mill in the seventies, seeing it again made me sad remembering the old days. Me and my mates used to slide down the spiral bag chutes on night shift...I used to fix those elevators......ride the man hoist.... my sweat is in those timbers. The car park where I parked my car is a field! My Dad and brother worked there also - D silo, it was unused back then, just a giant pigeon roost. Swans nested behind the silos that stood away from the right hand end of Millennium (as you look coming in the dock gate). I used to watch them take off and land on the docks. I kind of hope that some would still be there. I can still feel the rollerfloor in the soles of my feet and the smell of germ cooking and wheatfeed in the rain. A lot of history and atmosphere lost forever."
DARTFORD - WELLS FIREWORK FACTORY
Wells Fireworks was founded by Joseph Wells in 1837 in, Dartford, having learned his trade as an explosive lighter man on the River Thames in London.
Wells Fireworks quickly became the leading display company in the UK and established a reputation for the manufacture and display of the finest quality fireworks. Using the Wells “Crown Brand” the company displayed at Cowes and Henley Regattas, Coronations and Jubilees to the Royal Family. Securing an international reputation for excellence this led to high value commissions including the LA Olympics, the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics, Rose Bowl displays and designing the original fireworks shows for Disneyland in Florida.
After operating for nearly a century and a half, sadly in the late 1970s it became financially impossible to compete with the now widely available Chinese imports and Wells was forced to shut its manufacturing plant in Dartford. Led by Stuart Orr, a chemist at the plant, some of the employees took the Wells brand and moved the entire operation to West Sussex. Specialising in close proximity stage pyrotechnics for the entertainment industry, Wells continued its reputation for excellence and supplied to most of the UK’s leading fireworks companies.
Wells is still established exporter of fireworks around the globe. The Wells brand is internationally recognised for excellence and used on major live shows and concerts worldwide by renowned artist like Westlife, Pussy Cat Dolls, 50 Cent, Girls Aloud, and Mc Fly and used on large shows including X Factor Live and TV shows such as X Factor, Ant and Dec and Strictly Come Dancing.
The actual remains of a number of original buildings from the former factory still remain. Due to planned development in the area, these buildings face an uncertain future. The corrugated iron sheds, which for obvious reasons were spaced apart from one another, survive in an overgrown landscape of elder bushes and buddleia.
Wells at Dartford is the only remaining firework factory in the UK of a type which once was common. It has stood derelict for the last 30 years.A charity is in the process of rescuing some of the buildings and erecting them as a Fireworks Museum at Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre in Sussex.
By Clicking on the Amazon link Derelict London receives a small % of anything that you spend! hint hint....
PLUMSTEAD - White Hart Road Depot
The council depot worksite contains a former electricity generating station, which is listed as Grade II. This complex of buildings was originally an early-Edwardian combined refuse incinerator and electricity generating station supplying both street and domestic lighting. Power generation ceased in 1923 and incineration in 1965 and it was subsequently modified to become a council depot. The interiors of the buildings contain interesting decorative finishes including doors, door surrounds, fireplaces,stairs and glazing within the offices and glazed brick interiors and mosaic flooring in the main hall.
Steve wrote to Derelict London writes: "my Dad used to work at this depot from the mid 80's to early 90's as a security guard for the council, he used to watch for people getting through the fence to nick the batteries out of the rubbish carts that were parked there over night. I used to visit him some nights on my motor bike at work, where he would feed the ferile cats, foxes and anything else furry, one night he tripped in the gatehouse (pictured) hit his head on the weigh bridge equipment, knocked himself out and cut his head open.Apparently the big building was used as a temporary morgue during WWII."
BOW E3 - Chisenhale Works
Morris Cohen built the Chisenhale Works building (called CHN Veneers) at the height of the Second World War in 1943 to produce veneer for the construction of Spitfire cockpits, as well as propellers and plywood for Mosquito aircraft. The works closed in 1972 and the building was then bought by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
In 1980 a group of artists and a dance collective took over the lease at Chisenhale Works as the Arts Place Trust after being forced to relocate from their studio building in Butler’s Wharf in Docklands. During the winter of 1980–1, the artists renovated part of the derelict building and created 40 studios. X6 Dance, meanwhile, established Chisenhale Dance Space in the derelict Black Horse Brewery building adjacent to Chisenhale Works.
Although many parts of the old works pictured here still remain derelict, there appear to be no plans to redevelop them.
LIMEHOUSE E14 - Caird and Rayner
This workshop was built in 1869 as a sail-makers’ and ship-chandlers’ warehouse. It was occupied by Caird & Rayner from 1889 to 1972 and was never substantially altered, so the building retains its original cast-iron window frames and two double loading doors that open on to the Limehouse Cut. Caird & Rayner were engineers and coppersmiths who specialized in the design and manufacture of seawater distilling plant for supplying boilers and drinking water on Royal Navy vessels and Cunard liners.
The building is the only original sail-makers’ and ship-chandlers’ warehouse surviving in Tower Hamlets. After various changes of ownership in recent years there are no immediate plans for the premises which remain vacant apart from some live in security and some very ferocious guard-dogs.
John Kirkwood whose father worked here until his death in the mid 80's writes to Derelict London:"The company produced water treatment plant, often for naval use and as such, they were regarded as a strategic industry during the war and there is a tale of one engineer who went off to join up, only to be ordered back by the military. Due to the risk of being bombed out of London, the wartime government decreed that Caird & Rayner should have a shadow factory to which business could be transferred should the need arise. A property was located in Watford, and taken over by Caird & Rayner 'for the duration' but remained in the company thereafter. During the 1960's, business had declined and it was decided to relinquish the Commercial Road site and concentrate on Watford. There were redundancies, I believe, but the firm substantially relocated to Watford and our family moved in about 1967 to a place in Hemel Hempstead, within easy commuting distance of the Watford site. The move out of Commercial Road had it's 'moments'. The building was, as you say, a sailmaker's loft, which meant the main part of the building had just a ground floor and a full height space in which to hang and manage sails, with a gallery round the insider perimiter, at first floor level. With the building's use as an engineering works, many machine tools had been installed in the gallery - lathes, milling machines, drills and the like. As machinery came out for transport, the weights were tallied up, but only until the company got scared when they realised the place should have long ago collapsed under the load."
LIMEHOUSE E14 - Caird and Rayner
This is a gallery of some derelict factories and warehouses north of the river (click to enlarge):
WANDSWORTH SW18 - Youngs Ram Brewery
The earliest records of brewing on this site date back to at least the early seventeenth century, but in recent times its cramped location, and the fact that the local authority expressed an interest in acquiring and developing the land it stood on, prompted the brewery to consider its options, and in 2006 the decision was made to sell up and move to Bedfordshire.
Chairman John Young died just days before the brewery closed, and its final brew was served at his funeral. Now that the Ram Brewery has gone, Fullers in Chiswick (where brewing has been going on since Elizabethan times) remains the only significant brewery still operating in London.
EAST HAM E6 - Disused Chemical Factory
The Disused factory of Burgoine Burbidges. The building, which was a thriving chemical business, seemed to go into disrepair after the second world war. The council took it over for storage. Then it became empty some time later, when it was padlocked and chained for years, until travellers broke in quite recently , then they were thrown out.
COLINDALE - The Hyde Workshop
Ive no idea of what this place was used for as there weren't any clues or debris around.
LIMEHOUSE - Incomplete Demolition
These industrial units one of which was a small printworks was halfway through being flattened when the demolition company went bust and the site has just been left unfinished.
Battersea Power Station pictured in 2005
Battersea Power Station and its Cranes
Battersea Power Station is without doubt the most famous derelict building in London. Opened in 1937 it was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect also responsible for Bankside Power Station and Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, and it originally had a chimney at either end. After the Second World War another, externally identical station was built alongside, giving the building its now familiar four chimneys. When the additional work was completed in 1955, Battersea Power Station became the largest brick building in Europe.
The building is an unmissable landmark for the many people who commute from suburbia to Waterloo, and it has made numerous film and television appearances. It was, for instance, a setting in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 film Sabotage, and it later appeared in the Beatles film Help!, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and the 1995 film of Shakespeare’s Richard III. In 1964 the power station was featured in an episode of Doctor Who entitled ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’: set in the twenty-second century, it depicted the station converted to nuclear power. The building’s iconic status was emphasized once more in 1977 when it appeared on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Animals.
The power station closed in 1983 and plans were made to convert it into a Disney-style theme park, but costs escalated and work stopped in 1989, leaving the building in its present semi-derelict state. Since then, the power station has languished without a roof, its steelwork exposed to the elements and its foundations prone to flooding.
Work is now about to commence on major construction of residential property on this site. Almost all of the 866 luxury apartments planned for the first phase of construction around the site of Battersea Power Station have been sold to mainly foreign investors raising £675 million despite work on the development having not even begun. the first occupancy date set for 2016. The flats are on sale from £350,000 for a studio to £6 million for a penthouse suite.
Subsequent sales will take place across a further six phases, delivering over 3,400 new homes in total. As for the Power Station building itself £100 million will be spent on demolishing and rebuilding the four chimneys, the steel frame, wash towers and brickwork.
Now the building is an iconic image for Londoners but what about these beautiful cranes on the riverside beside the Power Station in their own state of decay? The power station had an annual coal consumption of over 1,000,000 tonnes. The majority of this coal was delivered to the station from coal ports by coastal collier ships. The ships were "flat-irons" with a low-profile superstructure, fold-down funnel and masts to fit under bridges over the Thames above the Pool of London.
The jetty facilities used these two cranes to offload coal, with the capacity of unloading two ships at one time, at a rate of 480 tonnes an hour. A conveyor belt system was then used to take coal to the coal storage area or directly to the station's boiler rooms. The conveyor belt system consisted of a series of bridges connected by towers. The coal storage area was a large concrete box capable of holding 75,000 tonnes of coal. This had an overhead gantry with a conveyor belt attached to the conveyor belt system, for taking coal from the coal store to the boiler rooms.
Below are some interior pics courtesy of Graham T:
DEPTFORD - Copperas Street
Copperas was a valuable substance used in the production of acids & chlorine. It was obtained from nodules found within London Clay. In 1746 England was amongst the largest sources of copperas in Europe. However method s of production was changed during the 18th century and the Deptford works closed in 1828. Wheens soapworks was also located in Copperas Street - fat from the local cattle market together with rag ‘n’ bones collected by local totters was used to produce candles and soap. Since then various industrial type units have come and gone and some remain derelict awaiting demolition and currently dwarfed by modern multistorey buildings over the road.
GREENWICH - Greenwich Industrial Estate
The two acre site has been vacant for the last few years and has had "problems with travellers and people breaking in". Local press reports on ambitious plans to transform Greenwich Industrial Estate into a "buzzing quarter with £100 million of development... a three star hotel, 180 residential units, 400 units of student accommodation, space for business start ups, an educational hub and a pedestrianised street. Developers Cathedral Group say they want to create a “vibrant, new and sustainable community” for west Greenwich.The land is currently owned by the council and for the last 10 years there have been various proposals to redevelop it.
CHELSEA - Lots Road Power Station
Built between 1902 and 1905, on what was originally waste ground known as 'the Lots'. Its primary purpose was to provide power to the District Line and three other underground lines run by the Underground Electric Railway company. It was built to run on coal, conveniently shipped in via the river (Chelsea Harbour is built on the site of the old wharves). In 1915, with the closure of the Stockwell power station, Lots Rd also began supplying power to the City and South London Railway systems. Between 1920 and 1925, the capacity of the station was increased from 63 to 92 megawatts and in 1928, the Central Line also obtained its power from Lots Rd. Major modernisation took place in 1963 when the number of chimneys were reduced from four to two and the power station was converted to run on oil. An adjacent building, on the corner of Lots Road was built to cope with the additional requirements for more power.In 2000, with power due to be obtained from the National Grid supply, London Underground decided to sell the power station to developers Circadian and redevelopment is now well underway. www.lotsroadpowerstation.co.uk
This is a gallery of some derelict factories & warehouses south of the river (click to enlarge)