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Report - Fullers Earthworks, Redhill - August 2013

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by elliot5200, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. elliot5200

    elliot5200 28DL Regular User
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    After our visit to the Gunpowder Mills a few weeks ago, we thought we were immune to the wrath of nettles. Apparently not. So after stumbling and tripping through more nettle and bramble fields, we were in. Much of the quarry part of the site is now in use by a waste company and a few JCBs and bulldozers were left there.
    Then we made our way to the main Earthworks which are in a rather sorry state. It’s still great for climbing though. In fact, we bumped into some parkour kids who were scared shitless of us (‘we were just taking pictures, I swear’). They were making so much noise, surprised secca didn’t bother getting out his van and throw something at them. I guess he was tired.
    Anyway, a good day out – kinda reminded me of a smaller scale version of the Millennium Mills but with more climbing.

    Some historia
    The Redhill site was one of only three places in Britain where the mining and processing of Fullers Earth occurred. The highly absorbent mineral clay has many uses in various industries. Until recently it was sold in pharmacies for compressing pills and cleaning fabrics, and is often used in industrial filters for absorbing and filtering harmful agents. Military and emergency services use products containing the clay to decontaminate clothing and equipment of soldiers and CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) responders contaminated with chemical agents. Inside the factory is a packing machine with hundreds of empty cat litter boxes so that’s another use for its absorbent qualities!
    The Copyhold Works at Redhill was established in 1860 and supplied materials for the woollen trade, and by 1920 it was supplying the Southern Oil Company, British Glues and Chemicals Ltd and Prices Patent Candles Company. Laporte Industries bought the firm in 1954, during this period it was employing over 780 workers. Production increased and new kilns, granulators, blungers and silos were installed along with large warehouses and multi-layered flooring. A large quarry to the east of the site existed to mine the clay, which left the landscape looking rather surreal with its vast drifts of exposed brown reddish clay, hence it been used to film some of alien scenes of the 70’s series of Dr Who.
    During the 1980’s the factory was sending its earth products worldwide. However by the mid 90’s the demand for Fullers Earth was falling as other countries could produce and transport the product more cheaply. By 1997 the factory had ceased operations and the mining of the red earth was over for Redhill. The 119 acre site was purchased by a landfill company Biffa Waste Services after the clay processing ceased, then the site was used as a waste transfer station until it became derelict a couple of years later.

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