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Report - Pine End Works, Lydney - 10/10/2009

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by clebby, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
    Regular User

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    When I started exploring I thought there was hardly anything to do in Gloucestershire. But hours of trawling through photos and doing a bit of good hard research really does pay off, and now there is just too much to do! At least I (and Paskey) have managed to cross this off our list.

    Pine End Works occupies a 14 acre site in Harbour Road, a couple of miles away from Lydney, next to the Severn Estuary. It was commisioned and constructed by the Government in 1940, and it was built to produce technical aircraft and marine plywood for wartime requirements. It was known as a "shadow factory", meaning it was built in secrecy tso as to keep manufacturing goods vital to the war effort, when factories in other, more vulnerable locations had been destroyed by bombing. To preserve secrecy it was known as "Factories Direction Ltd", and it continued to be called this long after the war ended until it was taken over by two of the countries largest timber producers, William Mallison and Sons Ltd. and Gliksten Plywood Limited. It's name was changed to "Mallison-Denny (Lydney) Limited" after a change of ownership.

    During the war it was used to produce wooden aircraft panels for the Mosquito fighter-bomber and the Horsa assault gliders used in the D Day landings. In the 80s three inch thick rubber and grit surfaced plywood made at Pine End was used in a refubishment of Tower Bridge. It also supplied plywood to the Admiralty, the MoD, British Rail, vehicle manufacturers and boat builders. Something known as "Hydroboard" was produced at Pine End as well. It was a "chemically impregnated densified and compressed plywood" used in nuclear shielding in power stations.

    In its last years it became part of the Brooke-Bond Group of Companies, operating under the name "Lydney Products", and it seems to have been closed for a good few years now. For a detailed overview of the exterior of the buildings view my July leads and rumours thread here; http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=41828

    Ships would carry huge hardwoods from West Africa to Avonmouth. It would then be loaded on to barges that would travel up the river to either Lydney Harbour (which is a lovely little spot) or Sharpness Docks, where it would then be carried across the Severn to the harbour. Barges would continue through 3 locks and up to Lydney Canal. Here, it was moored outside the factory, and a large crane on rails would unload the logs from the barge and deposit them at the factory stores.


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    The crane can be seen in the background of this image. The rails that the crane ran on are still in place by the canal today.

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    This is a Mosquito fighter-bomber - parts of it were made from wood that came from Pine End.

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    Anyway, so it's a site with a rich history, but of course you want to know what it's like today, so heres some pics.

    This is one of the large factory floors; a surreal place, appearing at first monochrome but with some incredible colours and lighting inside.

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    There's nearly 250,000 square feet of factory floor on site - so I still have a LOT to see.

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    Some large machines were left behind. This one is at least 9 feet tall...

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    ...and this one looks like it has just been left for the night. A pair of googles hangs off a hook, sawdust still scatters the floor... it almost looks like it could be started up again at any minute.

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    There were many of these electrical switchboards and fuse boxes dotted around the place, many looking original.

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    Obviously, with wood comes sawdust. And with sawdust comes fire. So it seems fire prevention was a big issue here...

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    The colours and mould around this sprinkler valve made for some great photos. Plants are actually growing out of the walls, and it's a peeley paint orgy.

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    On the other side of the factory were some of these HUGE old drills. I wish I knew what all the machines were for...

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    Some offices came off the factory floor. This one was the quality assurance engineering office. And the colours were out of this world.

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    The layers of moss on the floor are sometimes inches thick, and the sunlight spilling on to them makes them almost glow.

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    For such a small room there is a huge variety of colour, from dark reds and brown to greens and purples.

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    The other office was revolting; wood panneled with ceiling tiles that seemed to be made out of terracotta. It had a great view out to the estuary and the Severn Bridges though.

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    During the war, the men were obviously off fighting and so the women were used to operate the factory. Hence there is no gents toilet on this factory floor and a large ladies.

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    Mmmmmmm... 5p tampons! :gay

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    I can only imagine these hand painted signs are original and from 1940. Hand painted signs = win.

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    There was a fantastic surgery room on site...

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    It was chock full of original features. Like this stretcher...

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    ...and a bed in the emergency room. There was also some old medical equipment around like an emergency respirator. So this shot was obligatory.

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    There were also heaps of paperwork lying around. It detailed the injuries of people working in the factory. Not surprisingly, splinters were the most common; in fact, one poor bugger got a 3 inch splinter in his hand!

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    Cheers :)​
     
    #1 clebby, Oct 10, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009

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