I've had my eye on these docks buildings for a long time, longer than I've been exploring. When Mr. Sheepdisease asked me if there were any other sites in Gloucester I jumped at the opportunity to go take a look, and I wasn't disappointed.
Visited twice with Sheepdisease, Gh0sT and The Invisableman, we originally got inside the ABM complex with maybe an hour of daylight left. Fantastic lighting but not a whole lot of time to look around. We returned first thing in the morning en mass, and eventually found a way into the Foster Bros Mill building as well, which was an unexpected bonus!
G & W.E. Downing Malthouse - Gloucester Docks
Two Brothers George and William Downing started building Malthouse 1 in Merchants road, Gloucester in 1876, due to the sucess of the business they then build a second Malthouse in 1895 right next to it and a further Malthouse 3 and Malthouse 4 in front right next to the dock edge.
In 1972 the whole site was taken over by ABM and the Downing name was lost. The place closed when production was moved to Wallingford in about 1980 and the building taken over by West Midland Farmers to store Grain.
Here you can see Malthouse 2 on the left, with 3 and 4 on the right. The concrete silo at the end was built where Malthouse 1 originally stood.
Inside the silo it's pretty grim. There's an inch and a half of the grottiest water I've ever stood in. Lush.
The view from the roof is pretty spectacular though...
Leaving the silo, we went to explore Malthouses 3 and 4. 2 is absolutely fucked: Damp, rotten, holey, we got access twice and it wasn't good. You can go through the silo or through the bridge from 3/4, but don't bother.
The lighting in 3 & 4 is limited because the windows are mostly bricked up, but it makes for some stunning images.
I loved these old wooden hoppers, and the grain that was coating half the floors!
There was even an old wheelbarrow, albeit missing it's wheel.
Next, the bridge of death...
The only thing of any worth in Malthouse 2 that we could see from the other side, other than the massive holes in the rotten floors, was this nice sign-written burlap sack.
Back in 3 & 4, we went on to find more variations on the sign writing hidden away in the dark attic spaces.
The section between 3 & 4 had metal sheeting to protect it from the elements, which has now been removed. Bring on the pigeon poo.
Over all a very nice set of buildings! We weren't expecting to get into Foster's, but... Foster Bros. Oil And Cake Mill - Gloucester Docks
In 1862 Thomas Nelson Foster and his brother Richard Gibbs Foster moved their oilseed business from Evesham to Bakers Quay in Gloucester, following a fire. Gloucester was an ideal location as they now had direct access to sea-going ships. Originally, the oilseed crushing mill they built, designed by George Hunt and built by William Eassie and Co. consisted of a 6 storey warehouse for storage, and a 2 storey extension behind which contained the crushing equipment. There was also a gabled wooden structure that projected over the quay with an elevator inside to lift seeds.
When BOCM installed a large oil extraction plant at Avonmouth in the early 1950s the mill was deemed too inefficient and it closed in 1955. However, the building was sold to West Midlands farmers and was used for grain mixing and storage, and became known as Provender mill. But by the 1980s the mills time had really come and it closed c1987.
As per the other buildings, any metal sheeting has been removed, including the old metal sheds which were facing the ABM / Downings complex. A section of the centre has been entirely demolished, leaving the mill building and an empty shed space on the other.
Fosters had some nice attic spaces - plus actual content. Win! Starting from the top...
And last but not least, a rather dark control room. Apparently you can beat a control room, but I wasn't all that fussed by this point!
All in all, a bloody lovely site which I'm surprised to see hasn't been reported on in years. Crazy.
Thanks for reading!