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Report - Fullers Earthworks, Redhill, February 2016

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by LoganMcrae, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. LoganMcrae

    LoganMcrae The Fox
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    After spending months reading through this site, I finally decided to post a report. Although it is frequently reported, this seemed like a good start point for me. The place was very easy to get into and there is no longer any security.

    History
    A greyish, mineral-rich clay, fuller's earth is well-known for its absorbent qualities and has many uses ranging from powder cosmetics to 'mud' used for drilling oil wells. Its best known use however is as cat litter, of which millions of bags are sold every year. Most of this is now imported from the Americas but until recently, fuller's earth was quarried from the Lower Greensand strata at Woburn (Beds.), at Baulking (Oxon.) and at Redhill (Surrey). On the Redhill deposit, the most successful quarry operating at the turn of the century was the Copyhold Works of the Fuller's Earth Union Ltd, established c.1860-70. Initially supplying the woollen trade, demand later shifted to the growing chemical and commodity sector with customers in the 1920s-40s including the Southern Oil Company Ltd, British Glues and Chemicals Ltd and Price's Patent Candle Co.

    In 1954 the works, by now employing 780 men, were bought by chemical company Laporte Industries. Production was stepped up to meet increasing demand and a large factory consisting of kilns, granulators, blungers, silos and transit systems on several floors was built. A large quarry existed to the east and in the 1970s this strange landscape stood in for various alien worlds in the BBC's Doctor Who series. In the 1980s, the Copyhold site was sending loose earths and packaged cat litter around the world. By 1995, however, due to falling profits it was announced that the company would close 10% of its 100 plants. Copyhold fell victim the following year and the Laporte Group was broken up with the majority share sold to an American private equity firm trading as Rockwood Holdings Inc. After the production lines were switched off, the 119 acre pit was purchased for use as a landfill site by Biffa Waste Services and continues to take waste from across Surrey. The factory was for a while used as a waste transfer station but this too was abandoned at some time in the last four years and the site is now derelict.


    The visit
    Myself and two friends (@bart_shrimpo) set off from Redhill station to the location unsure of what to expect. Although I had visited before, it was only fleeting as I didn't manage to get far inside. From what I had read it was easier to enter through the back, avoiding the main entrance and any security. We were wary as we had seen the infamous video of the security posted at the Earthworks, which i'm sure many of you have seen. The one with the not very friendly security guard and his rather menacing dog. However, while trying to enter from the back, we were approached by some teenagers that warned us that the back way was far too treacherous, with it being too muddy and covered in brambles. I assume they were local as they suggested we enter through the main entrance, and that we should wait till dark so we had cover. We found the front entrance and proceeded to enter the premises. To our surprise, there was no security whatsoever. We spent a good few hours in the buildings taking photographs until it got dark.

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    Hard to get a good photo here as it was getting dark.

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    #1 LoganMcrae, Feb 17, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
    bart_shrimpo and OPEN&ENTER like this.

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  2. Dieselkid 63

    Dieselkid 63 28DL Full Member
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    Didn't secca used to be particularly unpleasant at this place?
     
  3. LoganMcrae

    LoganMcrae The Fox
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    Yes, to my knowledge there was one particular security guard that was very threatening and violent a few years ago. But as of this visit, there was no security whatsoever.
     
  4. Bolts

    Bolts 28DL Regular User
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    Did you get to the top of those towers?
     
  5. LoganMcrae

    LoganMcrae The Fox
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    Unfortunately not. We managed to get about four stories up but the building is in extremely bad shape. Most of the access to the higher points shown in older reports have since been removed or have deteriorated so much that its way too dangerous to attempt.
     
  6. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    I remember getting caught in here after what I thought was a very silent and stealthy approach. Turned out one of crew who took an alternative route in caught his attention. He let us out without any trouble though.
     
  7. LoganMcrae

    LoganMcrae The Fox
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    While we were trying to find an entrance we passed a group of kids no older than 12 that we overheard talking about trying to get in. I assume they didn't find a way into the place as we were there for a good few hours and we didn't see them. Which was a good thing as I think they would've been an annoyance.
     
  8. Gromr123

    Gromr123 28DL Full Member
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    I went here last year and there was no sign of any security. The old security hut was in ruins and there were holes in all the fences that had been left unfixed. It seems they have given up on this place.
     
  9. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    No sample tins anymore?!
     
  10. LoganMcrae

    LoganMcrae The Fox
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    The place is a shell, the only stuff left is what's nailed down
     
  11. LoganMcrae

    LoganMcrae The Fox
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    Seems so, there's nothing left to protect.
     
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