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Report - Laporte Fullers Earth Works - July 2015

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Medwaydan, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. Medwaydan

    Medwaydan 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    The Visit - Well it was about time someone did a report on this place ;)

    Really easy and relaxed visit with another member (silentwalker). When we arrived there was a small group of kids leaving with the kind of smiles only smashing stuff up would create. Nothing quite like asbestos to get those lungs going in the morning.
    I was surprised by the size of the buildings and that there is quite a bit still there, albeit in quite a poor state. After a mooch around the outside we decided to make our way up of of the buildings, unfortunately the chimney is not accessible to climb so the main building it was then, that being said its still pretty high for someone who cant deal with heights (slowly getting there though).


    A bit of 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.


    Now for some pics

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    Silentwalker deals with heights slightly better than me.

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    Had a feeling I was being watched

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    couple of the remaining out buildings

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    silentwalker likes this.

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  2. silentwalker

    silentwalker 28DL Regular User
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    Cracking report and pictures! Your fear of heights will soon vanish ;)
     
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