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Report - Gloucester Mills

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by huey, May 13, 2015.

  1. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    GLOUCESTER MILLS

    Two for the price of one here- actually two separate buildings and the only two remaining survivors from all the mills which haven't been redeveloped in Glos docks. Yet.


    Visited with CheltOriginal one windswept, cold and dark day. The perfect day to explore breakneck dark cellars, dingy walkways and perilous floors. We prepared ourselves with a lovely piece of lemon cake each ( Marks and Sparks do the best, the one with the extra drizzle on top.) Whilst the rest of Gloucester left work for home, the weather closed in, we sorted kit and pressed on.

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    FOSTER BRO's OIL AND CAKE MILL

    Linseed and cotton seed were crushed here, heated and pressed making oil. The waste product 'cake' was sold as cattle feed.


    Designed by local boy George Hunt and built in 1862 this place started as a 6 storey warehouse with a 2 storey extension for machinery. Nineteen years later the extension was converted to 6 storey and a 400hp steam engine installed. The weight and groundworks actually caused the quayside wall to collapse no doubt causing much gnashing of teeth and choice of words from the bosses of the time.

    The wooden structure on pillars overhung the quay and a lift carried the goods off the barge and into the building. At a time when all the wheat or seeds were loose in the barges and up to 250 tonnes had to be manually bagged before lifting onto the quayside it must have been backbreaking work.

    The last proper use of it was by West Midland Farmers as a 'Distribution Depot' and as storage. Note the differences from the first pic- in the 1980's building now has 6 stories, new silo's and hoppers.

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    And today...
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    Surprising amount of glazed tiles about, always nice to see.
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    Double blast doors everywhere- the dust was explosive when ignited.
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    Inside the wooden overhang structure, home for someone. Living in a sleeping bag with a pillow of solid oak, in a windowless, damp room ain't my idea of fun. We moved on after leaving a Kitkat ( 2 finger multi-pack job.)
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    Not a bad view out, to be fair.
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    This sack conveyor drops down all the way from the top floor...
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    And a charming, original spiral chute (possibly older?) still stands next to it.
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    The old inspection room and more glazed porn
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    Time for a quick snack ( mini Twix all round, 4 for a pound at Morrisons,) then over to the larger malthouses for some trouser clenching access and more of the same. Exploring I mean, not more choc snacks- I could eat them all day and so cheap. How do they do it?


    DOWNINGS MALTHOUSES

    Malthouses were just warehouses where grain was watered to encourage growth, then dried to stop further sprouting, then stored for use in brewing alcohol (God bless 'em.)


    The first building here was actually built in 1876, several more were built over the years, some linked and some weren't. It had 3 floors for germinating the grain and 4 kilns for drying. Come the 1950's and huge sums were spent trying to stay competitive with new silo's, kilns, floors and layouts etc and a new forced draught air cooling system introduced to try and speed up the drying process. Twas to no avail though, it closed in 1977 and in 1980'ish West Midland farmers used it for grain storage.

    The connecting corridor's got hospital written all over it. Careful how you go...
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    The connecting corridor over the main road, joining the old with the new buildings. It creaks and moves as you gently cross. CheltOrig has a bullet proof sense of his own worth- he crossed without hesitating, still obliterating his freeloaded packet of crisps (and talking with his mouth full, the pig.) I crossed a bit more gingerly and wished i hadn't.

    After stupid access, going up and down numerous ladders and rotten stairs i didn't think it could get worse. It did. Entire sections missing, pipes hanging down, collapsed door ways etc getting separated for 20 minutes didn't help either. I was truly glad to get out. The fact that this building is the newest and is the most weather damaged speaks volumes about old school build quality.

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    Some floors are perfectly safe. It's just people who are at risk.
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    Not a reflection- the actual floor is missing
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    And the roof...
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    One of the hoppers and 35 year old grain.
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    One of the three germinating floors. Lovely cast iron columns and ventilation windows. Outside vents, now glazed, were originally shuttered and were to help dry and cool the grain.
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    Looking up at one of the heated drying floors
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    Down into the cellars revealed the old kilns. The smaller Barley kiln was heated by 2 fires.
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    And the larger Malt kiln heated by 4 fires.
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    Remember these?
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    Some arty farty to end on..
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    Despite being vandalised by half of Gloucester's failed medical experiments (some call them youths,) parts of it being set alight and horrendous rot everywhere there's still some nice original bits left. The corrosion and erosion sucks the air from your lungs, enough to give you a headache after an hour. After battling the dark, cobwebs, mad pigeons, fumes, sodden beams and missing floors, we finally emerge several hours later filthy and totally knackered. I could still taste the pigeon shit two days later.

    Without doubt, the most dangerous place iv'e ever been in- mad, bad and rotten as hell. And still somehow utterly charming.
    Hope you enjoyed and thanks for looking.
     

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  2. Megs

    Megs 28DL Full Member
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    great report mate! :rolleyes:
     
  3. kingryu

    kingryu 28DL Full Member
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    Looks awesome. That bridge between units looks dodgy as hell!
     
  4. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    We were looking at this place just this weekend while we were checking out the old cinema right next door, nothing going on there unfortunately but we decided the mills looked like an absolute death trap so we passed. Good work and great report mate!
     
  5. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    I like it, need to take a look at this one.
     
  6. Polo

    Polo 28DL Full Member
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    Wasn't this the one that was set alight a few months back? A few of us were planning to go inside and decided not to in the end..
     
  7. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Ooo a bobby barrow with makers plate. Ive not been in the maltings before.
     
  8. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    The first part has been partially burnt yes but not much- most of it is going on in the Maltings side. Access is tricky and dodgy inside. Anyone wanting to pop in drop me a pm.
     
  9. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
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    looks great not as great as 4 mini twixz for a quid tho:eek:
     
  10. Paradox

    Paradox 28DL Regular User
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    nice report mate. :thumbThat floor looks sketchy as hell lol
     
  11. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks, haven't posted half the rotten floor or joist pics as they all look the same....
    It is a waste though.
     
  12. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Enjoyed those mate, nice ones
     
  13. weezdeez

    weezdeez 28DL Full Member
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    Great report thanks - loving the two wheeled trolley :)
     
  14. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers all, and yes the malt trolley is a rare beast and nice to see. Cant believe its still there after they stripped the place out.
     
  15. Incognito

    Incognito Just Reckless.
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    Great report, looks a pretty good explore
     
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