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Report - Robert Fletchers and sons - Oldham - Aug 15

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by ledgehammer, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. ledgehammer

    ledgehammer 28DL Regular User
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    Right, its been a while, just got back from mega blowout at Boomtown - so "State of Decay" (SD8) planned a trip to some sites in yorks. This place is one we have wanted to do for a while, thinking it was too far we had shelved it for another time... this time had come...

    Probably the most intense explore ever for us, been doing this about 7 months now - it makes us laugh to look back at the early days, but this explore would stay with us for a long time....

    History (long version) >

    The beginnings of the firm of Robert Fletcher & Son Limited are lost in the mist of time. It is probably that it was one of the first concerns which the industrial revolution brought to this part or Lancashire. It is know that the firm was first owned by a family called Crompton. They traded under the name of Ralph Crompton and Nephews, Bleachers and Papermakers, Stoneclough and Manchester. The influence of the bleaching side of the business is traceable in some of tte terms still in use in the mill. Paper was first made at Stoneclough in 1829.

    Robert Fletcher entered the firm as a young man in his twenties in the year 1830. His ability brought him to the notice of his employers and he became manager of the bleaching department and later manager of the whole mill. The Crompton family held him in high regard and Roger Crompton, the last of the brothers, left him both the principal trusteeship and the option of succeeding him in the firm.

    After the death of Roger Crompton, Robert Fletcher controlled the business with conspicuous ability and integrity for many years. He died at Vale House, Stoneclough, on May 17th, 1865, and was succeeded by his sons John and James Fletcher. They in turn were followed by their sons, John Robert Fletcher and James Fletcher, who are well remembered by many old employees today.

    In 1897, the firm was incorporated as a Limited Company. Many things have changed since those days. The Company then employed about two hundred people; now the number including Greenfield Mill, is about one thousand. The top wage in those days was 6½d. an hour. There were 7 paper machines which between them produced only a fraction of the paper which three paper machines produce today.

    Throughout the succeeding years, the firm continued to expand and to increase its volume of business. A relation for high quality, reliability and fine craftsmanship was steadily built up.
    A second mill, at Greenfield, near Oldham, was opened in 1921. This mill specialises in the manufacture of cigarette paper. There are also sales offices in London & Manchester and agencies in many foreign countries. The Company owns several hundred of acres of land around Greenfield Mill, which supports a mixed farm.

    The company’s products cover a wide range of fine tissues; in this field, Robert Fletcher & Son Limited has a world-wide reputation for quality, reliability and good service to the customer which is founded upon more than a hundred years of experience.

    Financial Strain & Eventual Closure

    Towards the late 90’s the two mills of Robert Fletcher & Son Ltd started to struggle. The increased cost of wood pulp and energy combined to make it tough financially. In 1997 the greenfield site had a turnover of nearly £17m and shareholder funds exceeded £9m. By 1999 turnover was down to £8.2m and the shareholders funds had dwindled to little over £4m. In 2000 in an effort to save the business going to the wall resulted in the closure of the Stoneclough site and 120 job losses resulted from the closure although 50 new jobs would be created at the Greenfield site. Despite this move the company continued to spiral into financial
    ruin and in July 2001 several suppliers and creditors formally applied to wind up the company and resulted in the closure, overnight, of the Greenfield site.

    The visit>

    Ebo did the normal researching for the sites on the day, with a nice scenic walk to the site and public toilets also, for those looking to avoid a derp-crap experience (yeh, like you don't now what i'm talking about ;-))
    The site looked huge and fairly well sealed up, with vague hints of secca - but we were fairy confident we could gain access.

    Upon a quick reccie we spotted a decent access point which needed a little persuasion as well as acrobats - something we would have clearly overlooked in the early days, but after some interesting positions we managed to slot ourselves inside.

    This place has a bit of everything, Its a well worth explore, if a tad derpy in places. After accessing about half of the site, we ended up on the roof trying to gain access to the other part, after some more acrobatic stuff, we managed to get down into one of the main industrial areas, then realising that there was really simple access which we missed underground, still - our way was more exiting...

    After about 4 hours of exploring, we returned to our access point - very quickly we both looked at each other, as we could hear banging, and it was below our access point. Looking out of the window, we could see a secca van, and they were boarding up our access that we were unable to completely mask.

    A mixture of hilarity and shock ensued, we had explored pretty damn well and there wasn't much hope of access, bar a couple of ideas - it seemed that this place wasn't quite finished with us yet...

    As we pottered away from the "crisis zone", we decided to check out a lead with some windows, which happened to be right at the other end of the site, which would mean crossing the potential secca access point. This in itself may have been o.k, if we could get there and hopefully sneak through the door after they enter, but at this point we heard noises - so we did what all Urban explorers do in this situation, hide in the most ridiculous of places, behind a giant metal vat.

    After analysing the noises, we decided that it was pigeons or something unrelated and above us, but all this excitement and breakfast was taking its toll, without going into too much detail - nature was becoming very insistent on a particular issue, but fuck, we need to escape man!

    We checked out a lead with some windows... no dice, mega sealed up - lie most of the site - to be honest it was starting to look bleak, we could hear noises still, but we were pretty sure it wasn't secca...

    There were two potential long shots, one of which involved a lot of height, so we skipped that one - and checked out some more windows... and would you now it, despite the sealing of almost everything there, the noticing of our small access point, and reacting that quickly - deep down we honestly though we were screwed, and smashing our way out and dealing with the repercussions was the best option - but there was a small window, unsealed, shut and openable - our troubled faces lit up as the window swung open, and an almighty wheelspin could be heard, along with beeping, and another secca van going past as we quickly dropped away from the window and legged it in typical alternative directions....

    At this point it seemed that they had the site locked down, starting to really now the corridors and layout of this place, something became very very clear - Some personal business would need to be taken care of... Now remembering an area of the site where there was paper in abundance came in handy, otherwise I am genuinely not too sure how the rest of it would have panned out...It was either me and the relief of the situation, but this paper was like a high grade premium textured massage next level anti-bacterial godsend, which counteracted the self loathing one feels when trapped inside an abandoned building while doing the business...

    Upon my return, there were no words, just a couple of looks... and now we could escape without the challenging pressures of internal origin, we went back to the window, took a look outside and with the precision of bears, we got the fuck out of there as quick as possible....

    mega relief, we were outside - even though we had no clue where in fact we were other than a direction. Ebo too a wander around to spy, and the second secca van had positioned itself in sight with the other, and covering the main area of the site. Some very stealth behaviour managed to get us around the back of the site, and eventually out of the site completely, while the hearts pounded like the drums of the South African national anthem in bongos.... I certainly felt like a bongo.... What an urbex.... killed off the day after that, with a couple of fails to tie us over.....

    1.Deathstar

    [​IMG]

    2. Stairway to nowhere

    [​IMG]

    3. (seriously, who's the guy who visits these places with an abundant supply of elaborate chairs?)

    [​IMG]

    4. Trippy

    [​IMG]

    5. 28 ml Later

    [​IMG]

    6. invisible hub

    [​IMG]

    7. Pre Tetris

    [​IMG]

    8. Connection

    [​IMG]

    9. Rear View...

    [​IMG]

    10. Optic

    [​IMG]

    11. contrast

    [​IMG]

    12. Pre-10

    [​IMG]

    13. Wide open spafe

    [​IMG]

    14. Thee saviour...

    [​IMG]

    15. Pikey-dodging

    [​IMG]

    16. Indu-deco

    [​IMG]

    17. privatisation

    [​IMG]

    18. Where is plan d?

    [​IMG]

    19. Vats the one...

    [​IMG]

    20. Shady

    [​IMG]

    21. didn't work...

    [​IMG]

    23. Was a hoot

    [​IMG]

    23. Health and safety thirst...

    [​IMG]

    Bye from S8/D, until next time....
     

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  2. ledgehammer

    ledgehammer 28DL Regular User
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    Vid from site, warning some flashing images. Music by Bassnectar, edited by ledgehammer...

     
  3. ebosis

    ebosis 28DL Full Member
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    That was a brilliant day. Best mill yet and one of our top explores.
     
    ledgehammer and mw0sec like this.
  4. Bigian88

    Bigian88 The Massive Mancunian
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    Brilliant story!

    That properly made me laugh :)
     
    ledgehammer likes this.
  5. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Good read that was mate, thanks for making the effort.
     
    ledgehammer likes this.
  6. Cuuvin

    Cuuvin 28DL Colonial Member
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    Good pics, nice variety, Well covered ! :thumb
    actually... maybe a bit TOO well covered...:turd ... :rolleyes: (shoulda left a note " To Seeca, with Love " :D)
     
  7. Nickindroy

    Nickindroy A Porky Prime Cut
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    Nice one mate, funny read that. :thumb Brought back memories of needing to jettison an alien, early one morning in a stripped out old job centre. :eek:
     
    ledgehammer likes this.
  8. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Yeah, really like this place....always something different to capture when the light differs during the day :cool:
    Awesome piccies and really great report :thumb
     
    ledgehammer likes this.
  9. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Nicely done and an enjoyable read :thumb

    Good to see some recent traffic in here, been sealed fairly well for a bit.
     
    ledgehammer likes this.
  10. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Cool story m8ty
     
    Mr Beady, Nickindroy and ledgehammer like this.
  11. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Hah, actually made me laugh out loud. Good report, cheers for posting :thumb
     
    ledgehammer likes this.
  12. ledgehammer

    ledgehammer 28DL Regular User
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    cheers guys, had a bit of everything that day....;-)

    lol, I think its accurate to say that there will always be a part of me at that place... ;-0

    best...
     
    ebosis likes this.
  13. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Nicely done :thumb seems like you"ve certainly covered most of it

    Love the write up & nice to know it"s not just me lol

    Not made it here yet for lots of reasons but the Tawny Owl has got me very interested :)
     
    ledgehammer likes this.
  14. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    You need an Hawaiian shirt to distract security :D
     
    Nickindroy likes this.
  15. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Attract Security surely :coat;)
     
    Ojay likes this.
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