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Report - ROF Featherstone, Wolverhampton - May 2016

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by KellyJ86, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. KellyJ86

    KellyJ86 28DL Full Member
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    ROF History (Source: Wikipedia)

    Royal Ordnance Factories (ROFs) was the collective name of the UK government's munitions factories in and after World War II. Until privatisation in 1987 they were the responsibility of the Ministry of Supply and later the Ministry of Defence.


    The majority of the ROFs were built in the re-armament period just before the start of the 1939-45 World War to enhance the capacity of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, the Royal Gunpowder Factory (RGPF) Waltham Abbey, Essex and the Royal Small Arms Factory, (RSAF) Enfield. These were sited in or near to London and were considered to be vulnerable to aerial bombing from continental Europe.


    The Royal Arsenal designed many of the ROFs and was also the agent for the construction of all of the Rifles ROFs, the Medium Machine ROF and the Small Arms Ammunition ROFs

    ROF Featherstone History

    Royal Ordnance Factory Featherstone was filling factory No.17, covering just over 64 hectares, the factory used to specialise in filling various munitions, including, Bombs, Shells, Smoke and Cartridges.

    It served a major role in WW2 but since then has remained derelict, at some point BAE Systems took over the site and kept the majority of the buildings but sold off 13 hectares to HMP Service who have now constructed a prison on the remains of certain parts of the site.

    Report

    After scouting around the site and trying to locate it for around 20 min, seeing quite a few police cars, and a couple of U turns, We finally managed to locate the site and a very easily accessible entrance. We then decided to park the car a few hundred yards away and walk back to the location due to the visible police presence and the fact that site is literally right next to a cluster of prisons. Upon entering the location it was clear that this was going to be quite a large explore with plenty of outbuilding spread across quite a large area of ground, all accessible and all with large pieces of incredible street art located inside. I visited this location with another 28days member @YamYamSeeker and his mate who also enjoys exploring. We ventured in to the buildings and could hear voices as soon as we started to explore (This turned out to be a group of teenagers riding round on scooters, playing music and running across the roof of one building when we got further in to the explore) not prison guards which was our first thought. We worked our way through the countless buildings which were pretty bare, littered with a glass and lots of peely paint :) I managed to take 6 pictures on my SLR before realising I had left my SD Card in my laptop! FAIL!!! So for the rest of the explore, I had to use my iphone6...Camera isn't too bad, but the photos could of been better! The buildings are pretty trashed but there are some amazing pieces of urban artwork on display throughout the 15+ buildings we explored, in the end the buildings started to all look the same and we retired to get food after being at the location for at least a couple of hours, My favourite part of the explore was a small building about halfway through the explore which had various names, numbers and letters on the walls in each room...We decided that maybe it was a changing room, with racking relating the items located via the letter and the names were possibly team names, after looking on the internet ive still not managed to confirm this, so if anybody knows please let me know in the comments. Not much else to say, good little explore!

    Here are my photos, Let me know your thoughts :)

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    #1 KellyJ86, Jun 2, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2016
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  2. ZerO81

    ZerO81 Team Weasel
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    Do you have a photo of this, may help people understand a bit more the set up of this room.
     
  3. A man called Martyn

    A man called Martyn cultural theorist
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    The building with the "Transport enquiry" signage has a lot of rooms painted with various names and numbers on the walls. In one room you'll find "WIMET" painted on the wall which refers to Wickman Wimet Ltd, who were managing agents for Featherstone iirc. The company was later taken over by Sandvik. Is that the building your referring to?
     
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  4. oldiesDJ

    oldiesDJ 28DL Full Member
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    Hi. Sandvik are, or were a different entity. They made tooling, normally tungsten tips for turning etc. I think they may have gone from here by now. In 1968 the place was called Wickman Wimet Ltd. Then they dropped the Wickman bit. Later it became Royal Ordnance Specialty Metals, later abbreviated to R.O.S.M. I worked there for 20 odd years. There were hundreds of buildings like the ones above, from literally 6 feet square to big enough for a football pitch. Incidentally there was a footy pitch on the M54 side of the site on some raised ground, up about 6 steps. There was and I think still is, a rather nice little fishing pool, in the trees just beyond what was the entrance gate building. The empty buildings now all look the same but I saw most of them while I worked there. Thanks for the great post, brought back happy memories of the place, and some of the great folks I worked with :-)
     
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  5. A man called Martyn

    A man called Martyn cultural theorist
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    On Sandvik's website it details the acquisition of Wickman Wimet in 1973. So it seems more like they become one and the same entity.
     
  6. oldiesDJ

    oldiesDJ 28DL Full Member
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    Hi 'Martyn'. I can't go into details or I'll get hung, drawn and quartered due to official secrets act stuff. Sandvik and Wickman's had a very close working relationship, can't say more:) Sandvik continued on the site for a long time after Bae closed down the main part of the site. Sandvik may have left the site in the last 2-4 years? Their employees were never allowed into 'our' areas due to security levels. I did officially go to Sandviks on at least two occasions and as far as I know they never had any security issues..their excellent produce could be purchased by anyone. Reps were escorted to Sandviks by 'our' security guys, I assume to make sure the reps didn't stray into 'our' areas. Hope this helps:)
     
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