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Report - Pilkington Glass, Doncaster - May 2015

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by WildBoyz, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    The Pilkington Glass Company was established in 1826, in St. Helen’s Lancashire, and was originally named Greenall and Pilkington up until 1849. The Kirk Sandall site wasn’t created until 1922, and it was selected because of the canal situated nearby; so resources such as coal and sand could be received much more efficiently. A number of houses were also constructed in the land adjacent to the factory, which is now wasteland, to house the new workforce. In 1923 the company flourished and a partnership was created between Pilkington and Ford who were predominantly based in the United States. Together they ‘developed a continuous flow process for the manufacture of glass plate and a method of continuous grinding’. By the 1950’s, however, the Pilkington site had managed to develop the ‘float’ method of glass production, where molten glass is carefully poured onto a solid platform – otherwise known as a bath – at 1000 degrees Celsius. Pilkington set about converting each of their factories, with the exception of the Doncaster plant, which, despite being more expensive, retained the older method of production.

    At the height of production, during the early 1900’s, the Kirk Sandall site had over 3,000 employees, but by 1966 this number had been almost halved and the factory continued to operate at only 56% of its capacity. While the site underwent some modification, with the demolition of older buildings and the construction of newer ones; and the modernisation of the power supply which was upgraded from old onsite steam engines to the main grid, many of its practices and much of its technology remained somewhat dated. By 2008, the company decided that it was no longer feasible to continue with production at the Kirk Sandall factory, since methods of production had continued to evolve and much cheaper methods were being employed at other sites across the UK. It closed its doors forever later that year, and although it was purchased in 2009 by an anonymous buyer, it has for the most part remained abandoned ever since: part of the site is still used by Trackwork, a specialist Rail Infrastructure company, and they continue to train apprentices and store equipment there.

    Work had finished and, in anticipation that the afternoon was likely to be a tedious one, I sat drinking a strong coffee wondering what else I could do with my time. But, ACID-REFLUX saved the day with a phone call and something that sounded like a bit of a plan. Ten minutes later I found myself dashing to the train station with the tripod in one hand and camera in the other: Doncaster was the next stop. Around an hour later, myself and A-R arrived outside the old Pilkington Glass site, greeted by quite a crowd of people: local dog walkers, ten or so teenage chavs, canal boaters and a couple of keen cyclists, and with the daylight already fading, it appeared that we’d left much of our luck behind in Doncaster. However, after playing ‘the waiting game’ for a moment or two, the crowds eventually dispersed and we took the opportunity to have a crack at getting inside the old glass factory. Entry wasn’t particularly difficult; although I was told later that the way we entered had been sealed the very next day. Like others who have attempted this one, it wasn’t long before we discovered that the site is absolutely huge, and that there is an additional tool workshop onsite, fully equip with lathes, grinders, bending machines and a range of other miscellaneous contraptions. The sun set long before we managed to explore the entire site, but I think we covered most of it – including a couple of climbs up some of the internal cranes.

    Explored with ACID-REFLUX.

    1: Engines Off!

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    2: The Room of Pillars

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    3: Clocking In/Out Machine

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    4: Broken Phone Booth

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    5: The Workshop

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    6: The Workshop (From the Crane)

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    7: Danger Signage

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    8: The White Basins

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    9: Former Office Space

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    10: Plans and Drawings

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    11: Tools and Toys

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    12: Bending Machine Isolator

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    13: Instruction Manual

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    14: Common Errors in Precision Grinding

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    15: More Machinery

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    16: Drawings

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    17: Standard Size Chart

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    18: Spindle Speeds

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    19: ACID's Shot

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    20: Grinding Machine

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    21: Old Machine

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    22: Tool Cupboard

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    23: Groundfloor Glass Workshop

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    24: Gre-Sol Jelly Hand Cleanser

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    25: Upstairs in the Glass Factory

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    26: How to do it Properly

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    27: Second Floor of Glass Workshop

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    28: Crane Seat

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    29: From the Crane

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    30: Sand Hoppers

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    gawpjus, ACID- REFLUX and Speed like this.

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  2. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Nicely done me . I don't think mine will show.it such good light which is ironic after having to light paint the entire production building up lol.

    I'm just glad we timed it right with the chavs (due to me driving somewhere else ;) they were not exactly subtle in their departure by any means.

    Nice to go somewhere with you that doesn't include Tomb Raider skills or indeed my body being flexible. Although speak for yourself regarding access having to shave an inch off my ribcage isn't recommended ;)
     
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  3. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    It was difficult trying to get the full scale of those second buildings with the light dwindling fast. Bet you got some decent ones though.

    Haha, it was easier than the church mind you ;)
     
  4. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Another great report there mate - your pictures are superb :thumb
     
  5. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Been a few round here recently but still good to see....nice pics and report mate :thumb
    Thanks for sharing ;)
     
  6. Seffy

    Seffy Bally up lads!
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    Yeah, liking that. Superb set of photos pal :thumb
     
  7. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Thanks for the messages everyone :thumb
     
  8. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Nicely done :thumb Really enjoyed the write up and you've got some cracking shots :thumb
     
  9. Raz

    Raz 28DL Regular User
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    Nicely done mate some nice one's there, Always young chavs hanging around there when I have been!
     
  10. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    What younger than you ? lol
     
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  11. Raz

    Raz 28DL Regular User
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    yeah not by much though ;)
     
  12. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Cheers fellas :thumb
     
  13. pugsnotdrugs1237

    pugsnotdrugs1237 28DL Member
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    been there reclenty not much changed but neally got seen great picturs
     
  14. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Cracking stuff, looks awesome ,
    Cheers for sharing :thumb
     
  15. Mr Sam

    Mr Sam 28DL Regular User
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    really enjoyed it here, top shots! captured it well
     
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