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Report - Bryan Donkin & Co, Chesterfield 2006

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by dweeb, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    Another one from the archives...

    This foundry made paper making machines, steam engines, street furniture, and above all things gas valves. I have lost count of the amount of ironwork I have walked past since my visit here bearing the familiar "DONKIN" casting, in fact I walk past one every morning on my way in to work, which reminded me just how good this place was, so I dug through the photos and picked a few out to share as I'm sure there are many members of the community that have never heard of this place

    I'd been aware of this place before I'd even really stared exploring, and one day I drove past to see work had begun demolishing the place. At the time I used to work nights, so at 6am I battered up the M1 and got there before the workers started.

    Donkin ticked every box for me. Very old, untouched, and buildings of a variety of styles packed full of stuff from a bygone age. The drawing office, which had clearly been unused for a number of years was still full of ancient drawings, drawing boards and other antiquated equipment. In one corner some kind of 'triffid' style plant had crept through the cracked window and was taking hold of a whole corner of the room!

    On to the surgery and bath house, which was a typical affair for such a foundry, with the wooden sick bed, metal lockers and cast iron hooks. Again it looked as though this had remained unused for a number of years.

    The main casting sheds were reasonably empty, although very old. From them the offices were accessed, which were in a very pretty building facing the main road. This sadly was unceremoniously demolished in favor of "town houses" which now stand on the site. The attic of the offices was a dumping ground for paperwork, more antiquated equipment and boxes and boxes of copper-plate advertisements, used for printing in trade catalogs and so forth.

    For me the main event was the pattern stores. A huge building that resembled a hay barn, packed full of thousands of hand made wooden patterns. One which particularly stands out in mind was that of a fine toothed gear wheel, several feet in diameter. On my second visit here a demo man had the task of piling these patterns onto an enormous bonfire. I did consider trying to buy some, but in those days the whole hipster movement had not taken off and I had no idea that they would ever have any value, and still living at home in a two bed semi left little room for hoarding such things. I just hid in the pattern stores watching the guy throw pattern after pattern into the licking flames.

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  2. Camera Shy

    Camera Shy Old enough to know better
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    Would love to have seen that, looks ace. I'd not even heard of this daft bobby back then though.
     
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  3. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    That place was amazing ! Thoroughly enjoyed the couple of times I went there.
     
  4. TranKmasT

    TranKmasT We're Earth explorers
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    I know how you feel. Discovering UE late on does make you regret what could of been.

    Oh, and nice report Dweeb.
     
  5. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    We were lucky to be involved when we were, wish I'd have been into it 30 years ago.
     
  6. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    In ten years time people will be saying that about the people involved today to be fair. Stuff of this ilk is still out there but is becoming fewer and farther between.. The collieries spring to mind..
     
  7. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    I'm not sure it will be all that interesting in another 30 years. Interiors of buildings are removable now. I look at my own works office and it is just a metal shed with suspended ceilings and egg box partitions. You could strip it in a weekend

    I guess we'll have to wait and see!
     
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  8. pigdog

    pigdog 28DL Regular User
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    you should have seen what was around leicester 30 odd years ago and apart from a few broken windows most of the places was totaly intact
     
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  9. nsdev

    nsdev 28DL Full Member
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    Great see see those pics thanks Dweeb, drive by the donkin roundabout pretty regularly on way through Chesterfield to Sheffield and we used to have a lot of donkin stuff at Desford Tubes, the main gas regulators for the huge rotary hearth furnace were cast there among other things
     
  10. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Yes I regret not going there.. 2006 tho. Long time ago! Had hardly ventured past London exploring back then..
     
  11. Pest

    Pest Read comics and sleep all day, = no worries
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    That colorful pipe mural, I'd swipe it! :rolleyes:
     
  12. nsdev

    nsdev 28DL Full Member
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    Bit late now lol
     
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