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Report - T D Ridleys & Sons Brewery - Hartford End - May 2013

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by NightFoxx, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. NightFoxx

    NightFoxx 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    The Hartford End brewery is a local one for me so I thought we should do the decent thing and visit go visit the place. So one fine morning me, Special Brew and a non member friend marched off to have a look for ourselves. Interesting explore of an interesting place.

    The impressive original Victorian brewing building shares the site with a conglomerate of offices, small warehouses, tanks and sheds which were all built at some stage or another in the companies history. We started off in one of the small worker's cottages but soon progressed onto the main event that was the brewing building. The building itself is actually a lot bigger on the inside than you would expect from looking at it from the road. I couldn't help wondering what the man was on when he designed the inside of the place all those years ago though, because he must have been tripping on something to conceive the manic combination of split levels, sloping floors, ladders, stairs, railings, chutes and walkways. That, combined with the fact that most of the lower staircases had been removed since its closure, made it into a bit of an 3D architectural maze- which all meant we had to do a fair bit of climbing and crawling to make the most of the building. But then that quite suited us.

    The isolated location has graciously kept the Hartford End Brewery free from vandals, though the winged rats had still found their way in, explaining the inevitable covering of guano on the floor. And although much of the old workings had since been removed, there was still enough remaining, or at least evidence of its existence, to make it juicy.Unfortunately we couldn't get into any of the other buildings beyond this, and I would have liked to have paid a visit to the onsite bar, but we did leave safe in the knowledge we hadn't missed much of the good stuff out.

    Didn't manage to get any of the exterior shots that I had planned for the end though, something I blame on the security car and its grey-haired owner that we were introduced to (from over a wall anyway) as we left. Apparently the walk-in style security wasn't so lax after all...

    History...

    The TD Ridleys and Sons brewery in Hartford End Essex was built in 1842 by the founder Thomas Dixon Ridley. Located 2 miles away from the village of Felsted in the heart of rural Essex, the traditional brewery was operational for over 160 years where it produced ales such as Old Bob and IPA using hops and barely from the surrounding fields. The firm dominated the small hamlet owning all but three of residences. However the end of the historic company came in 2005 when the brewery (and its 73 pubs) was sold to Green King for £45 million, which shifted its production and employees to Bury St Edmunds. It also stripped out all the historic brewery equipment, mash tuns and copper vessels to prevent theft and vandalism and some of the artifacts are now in the Greene King Suffolk Museum. There have been various proposed schemes over the years, the latest of which being a planned transformation into 36 luxury apartments and seven town houses.

    Aaaaand the evidence:



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    This fella was in one of the cottages, couldn't resist...

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    Thanks for taking a look :thumb
     

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