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Report - Derelict Avonmouth (The Three Giants), Bristol - 2014/15

Discussion in 'Noteworthy Reports' started by Seffy, May 21, 2015.

  1. Seffy

    Seffy Bally up lads!
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    Derelict Avonmouth
    Playing with giants...

    Massive thanks to @WhoDaresWins for the laughs.

    Ok, so despite the majority of the Port of Avonmouth being very much live and active, there are a few very large and imposing mill silos that tower over nearly everything else in the vicinity. There used to be one more - CWS or Grain no.1 - but this was demolished last year and it would seem no one explorers ever got in there... That being said, we don't know this for sure, and if anyone out there has done it or knows of someone who has, please speak up!

    This link explains why listed status was not granted for the CWS wheat silo and therefore it was demolished: Historic England

    So then there were three. Ford Grain, Spillers and what we know as 'The Granary' or 'Grain no.5.

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    Ford's Grain Silo

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    Ford Mill with Spillers in the background

    The first one we attempted was Ford, and that proved to be easier than we thought. After taking a detour from the M5 one day, I ended up near Avonmouth and went to have a gander (or as the UE saying goes - have a mooch). Upon doing so, I noticed something I'd not seen before. Fast forward a few days and I'm back with WDW. A bit of climbing, squeezing & running and we were standing at the base of giant numero un. Next to no effort had been made to secure it, thank god, so within minutes we were climbing the stairs to the top!

    History is pretty much non existent on this silo. That being said, I'm sure Speed will now be along with links to some incredibly extensive history to make me look bad... :D The mill it used to serve was demolished sometime in the 1980s, but the silo was supposedly built in the 1920s. Internally, the way it is laid out means that it's very difficult to turn into anything else, and as a result has been left on the dockside ever since, completely redundant.

    We've only done this at night, so the photos are light painted, naturally. Looking back, this must have resembled a bloody rave going on in the building to any onlookers...

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    Pics are not the best - I would blame the torch, or not having enough time or whatever, but in all honesty, it's very much a user error issue and for that I'm sorry...

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    Spillers Silo

    So the next one we come to is Spillers. After reaching the roof of Ford and taking in our surroundings, it became very clear that we could easily get to Spillers from there, without having to tackle any fences/security/cameras etc etc. The only thing it did entail is a dash across a rather large patch of open and floodlit ground. Bit bait, but either way, we went for it and boom - open door and we were in.

    This is the one you'll find the most amount of history about, it would seem. See this link for some more detailed information outside of a general summary: Engineering Timelines - Spillers Avonmouth Mill
    The mill was demolished sometime soon after 1998 when it ceased operation, but the silo remains on the dockside at Avonmouth and is still there, derelict, to this day. The complex comprised of the silos, the mill and a warehouse. This Spillers mill was one of three of similar construction, the others being in Cardiff and Newcastle-upon-Thyme.

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    Again, very much mediocre photos, but for this one the weather was terrible, we were cold and tired, plus the camera was soaked. And there I go again, nope, it was just me being lazy and not lighting them properly...

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    Keep scrolling for more...​
     
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  2. Seffy

    Seffy Bally up lads!
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    No.5 Grain Store (the Granary)

    This is the biggest, and in my opinion, the best of the three. It's also the largest. As far as I know, no one else managed to make it into this one back in 08 or indeed since then. When I say no one, I mean explorers, as it's clear people have been in here as there is the odd bit of writing written in grime on some of the walls - it seems the 'Granary Bandits' beat us in there!
    Let's face it, the Granary was always going to be the hardest of the lot, and would take a bit more planning. There is no way in that isn't bait as hell, and the building itself sits right between two roads that are in constant use, with the port popo based in the building opposite... You get my point. And that's only the half of it as you still need to inside the dock itself, which isn't a walk in the park (unless you blag your way through the main gate, but we thought we'd try a different approach before going down that route). All that aside, one night we went for it.... and bailed. So we then tried again, and found ourselves standing at the base of it. Following the trend that seems to have been set, the building wasn't fully secure, so in in in. This was at about 11pm, and even though the lights worked, we agreed that this one deserved a viewing in daylight. Fast forward a good few months, and we finally agree on a day to get up at 3am and do it in the morning. Armed with breakfast and lunch in our bags, we venture in. So yeah, pics are more decent for the next set! That, and I recently bought a wide angle...

    History is painfully limited for this one, so much so that I almost have nothing to say about it. In fact, there's no almost about it, I've got nothing. Nada. Anyone? It seems to go by the name of grain no.5, grain store no.5 or the granary. One random fact, there's wifi on the roof which uses the name 'Granary Rooftop'. There are also two high tech CCTV cameras that are controlled remotely which keep an eye on the port. One wrong turn and we'd have been screwed...!

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    Well, that's me done for today. May have waffled on a bit, but it was getting to the point where it was getting embarrassing to say we live in Bristol and haven't even attempted these beasts. If you're driving on the M5 and look out from the Avonmouth bridge and think 'ooh, what are those massive derps?', well now you know.

    Peace x​
     
    #2 Seffy, May 21, 2015
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
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  3. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    Stunning work, passed these many times but always been put off by the dock police, not too sure but i think they are a law to themselves….
     
  4. Yorrick

    Yorrick 28DL Regular User
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    Massive effort and cracking photos there. Well done :thumb

    I know the first building started life as R&W Paul and was an animal feed mill

    It’s mentioned in this history of BOCM Paul - http://www.realscience.lancsngfl.ac.uk/index.php?category_id=152

    "By today's standards, the output from these port mills was truly massive. For example the combined output of the plants at Avonmouth exceeded 1 million tonnes per year and provided employment for well in excess of 1,000 people."
     
  5. jST

    jST LLS.
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    Absolutely splendid.
     
  6. Mr Beady

    Mr Beady Over 8
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    That's pretty impressive !
     
  7. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    The Ford mill was originally built as Paul's Feed believe it or not. Not long after it changed hands.

    Great right up mate. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our times in there including the mooching about. It certainly paid off!

    I think you've got better night shots then me. They look really good. I'll get mine up soon though. The photos from your new camera look great. I hope you're pleased with them. You should be!
     
  8. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Fooking awesome dude. Not so much the report, but the fact that you got your arse out of bed at 3am :D
    Seriously, much respect. I know you guys did mondo legwork scoping these out. Top report :thumb
     
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  9. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Great report, you're best yet I reckon. Love these old buildings.
     
  10. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Very nice, looks awesome,
    Cracking shots :thumb
     
  11. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Some ace reports Seffy and some great photos, I wonder why some of the silos were listed but the mill was demolished, its crazy the way it works sometimes. Good stuff man :thumb
     
  12. raisinwing

    raisinwing 28DL Regular User
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    Lovely stuff, well done guys. Still busting out the awesomes! :)
     
  13. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    Sick. There's a couple of derelict silos up the river at Sharpness if you want to do some more dock exploring...
     
  14. the darkside

    the darkside 28DL Full Member
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    some cracking pics there mate, looks amazing! Wouldn't mind a look myself.
     
  15. mattdonut

    mattdonut likes teh HDr
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    good stuff
     
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