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Report - The British Xylonite Company, Manningtree Essex, March 2014

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by xorguinae, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. xorguinae

    xorguinae 28DL Full Member
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    Been past here so many times on the train thought it was about time for a visit.

    A little bit of the history from the site (from another report)

    The British Xylonite Company could justifiably claim to be the first British firm successfully to manufacture a plastic material in commercial quantities. Xylonite, better known by its American equivalent of 'celluloid', was invented by Alexander Parkes and first displayed in 1862 under the name of 'Parkesine'. Derived from the nitro-cellulose and collodion processes, it was initially used for making domestic articles in substitution for wood, horn, ivory or tortoiseshell. Its subsequent development was closely associated with Hackney, being taken up by Daniel Spill, rubber manufacturer, in 1864 and later by the Xylonite Company at Hackney Wick and the 'Ivoride' Works at Homerton High Street. The founders of the British Xylonite Company, Levi Parsons Merriam and his son Charles, established in 1875 a small business to make combs, imitation jewellery etc. next door to the 'Ivoride' Works; the two works merged in 1879.

    The original site being small and unsuitable, it was decided in 1887 to buy land at Brantham on the Suffolk bank of the River Stour and erect a purpose-built factory; finished goods continued to be made at Homerton until 1897 when a new factory was built at Hale End near Walthamstow (its products going by the trade name of 'Halex') which also housed the head office. Other types of plastics were introduced, and in 1938 the British Xylonite Company became a holding company with three subsidiaries: B.X. Plastics making xylonite and lactoid; Halex Ltd. making finished goods, and Cascelloid Ltd. making toys and bottles at Leicester and Coalville. The Distillers Company took a half-interest in 1939 and bought the entire Group in 1961, but in 1963 it formed part of a new grouping called Bakelite Xylonite Ltd. established jointly with Union Carbide, and including plants at Birmingham, Aycliffe and Grangemouth.

    Several sales and mergers took place in the 1960s and 1970s, the most significant being the sale of the Brantham and Aycliffe sites in 1966 to British Industrial Plastics, a subsidiary of Turner and Newall Ltd., who were in turn purchased in 1977 by Storey Brothers of Lancaster, formerly a major commercial rival. The Brantham site now operates under the name of Wardle Storeys and until recently manufactured limited quantities of xylonite using traditional processes and equipment.


    Very easy relaxed explore but the site has suffered badly from recent fires and general damage.

    There is still a good amount to take a look at however, especially on a nice day, we did bump into a few other explorers to.

    We managed to climb up on what was left of the roof at one point, trains drivers do love sounding their horns with great timing, really really loud from there.

    Thanks for looking.

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  2. flametailedfox

    flametailedfox 28DL Full Member
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    I passed this site a few times a few years back but never found an opportunity to look around, I'm surprised parts of this site are still standing considering the amount of damage
     
  3. willfinch36

    willfinch36 28DL Full Member
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    Great shots, love this place also, only live about 5 mins away from it.
     
  4. Southside UE

    Southside UE 28DL Regular User
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    Not a bad mooch, nice one
     
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