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Report - Williamsons Fire and Rescue Equipment - Oldham – April 2015

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Williamsons Fire and Rescue Equipment - Oldham – April 2015


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    Saturday Strolling with Ojay


    Having lived in the Oldham area for well over 25 years Williamsons was a well known institution. Think of the BBC sitcom ‘Open All Hours’ with Albert Arkwright and Granville, add a dodgy till, replace the groceries with an Aladdin’s cave of engineering, DIY, Fire Fighting, Rescue Equipment and conveyors and you’d end up with this place.


    If you needed a rear mounting screw for your Sprocket Undulator, this place had it, in stainless steel, carbon steel, titanium, aluminium, brass, copper and duplex, it would also come plastic coated, galvanised, zinc coated, powder coated, acid etched. Every size and grade you could ever dream of and many more which didn’t even appear in your nightmares. Metric, imperial, US, and every other measurement on the planet.


    Rumour has it that a UFO crashed into Oldham in the mid 50’s, the spacecraft was extensively damaged with no hope of flying again. That was until they paid Williamsons a visit, within 24 hours they had all the parts they needed and managed a full upgrade on the spacecraft as the technology in the store was about 500 light years ahead of the planet they came from.


    My last visit here was for a 7” cast iron drain cover, they were on form as ever, a plastic, cast iron and aluminium drain cover - 6”. 7” and 8” all came out from round the back and cost me pennies. I now wish I’d bought 2 of them.


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    History


    Williamsons had been trading from the same premises in Mumps Bridge Oldham since 1920. A private family business was still run by members of the Williamson family. The business had grown considerably since the outset and covered over two acres of warehouse space. Since 1969 they became a major supplier of Fire Fighting and Rescue Equipment much of this equipment was to Home Office Specification and was available in both new and refurbished condition. Since 1975 they also were suppliers of all variant types of new and refurbished conveyor systems; and held considerable stocks of equipment, and manufacture bespoke items to customer specification.


    From the Oldham Chronicle - 05 June 2013


    “MYSTERY surrounds a landmark business in Mumps as its approaches its centenary year. Oldham family business Williamsons, established in 1920, supplies fire and rescue equipment, tools and industrial machinery. But on Monday workers were sent home at lunch time and told the company had ceased trading. Calls and emails to the business have gone unanswered, and yesterday the business was closed.”

    Williamsons seems to have been another long established Oldham company to fall fowl of the huge disruption, traffic jams and road carnage caused by building the Metrolink to Oldham, which at the end of the day takes shoppers out of Oldham and into Manchester for their shopping, this is good as there are now no shops in Oldham due to building the Metrolink!


    Having said that the area where Williamsons is located is destined for a huge multi-million pound redevelopment, including a Marks and Spencer’s, Wine Bars, Bistros, open air dinning outside trendy café’s. I may have lived for only 26 years in Oldham; but see 2 flaws in this cunning redevelopment plan; 1 - The people of Oldham and 2 – the weather.


    This was first visited by Host in January, been wanting to head in myself ever since. Due to the location and history I thought it would be on the tourist trail by now, alas Camalot still seems to be the place for young trendy Urbexors to be seen. I am surprised that no one else has been here in the last 3 months, it was a quality report from Host.


    My Visit


    Where to start with this one, as usual a few plans thrown about the evening before after many beers and the usual banter online I wasn’t sure if Ojay would turn up, I set off early and quickly established the access had changed and was wondering if it was possible at all. I managed to get into a small section which had a nice collection of conveyor belt photos. No order to the report apart from the order I took them in.


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    It was at this point I got the text to confirm Ojay had managed to get out of bed and was lurking somewhere outside. After locating each other we had a comedy entry into the building proper.


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    I have to be honest now, at this point even though it was a historically significant place for me with many fond memories I was just a tad disappointed. The place seemed stripped; an empty shell with little evidence of its halcyon days.


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    Had the place deteriorated that much in the 3 months since Host had visited it, should have read his report before heading in just to refresh my memory, but do like going places with an open mind. Anyway enough waffle, we found the cellar.


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    The date on the tea-chests was 1978, been down there a couple of years. Wish there were 4 candles in the box marked candles, this place would have had fork handles stored elsewhere.


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    Now it’s not often a simple white board stops me in my tracks and gets me grinning from ear to ear, this is what Williamsons was all about – Nipper Rat Traps, log splitting grenades, ear muffs, Grubbins Mattocks, Flap Discs, 12” metal funnels and Dutch Hoes to name a few, this white board epitomises Williamsons far better that I ever could.


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    Back in the front of shop thinking we had seen it all, nice safe.


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    I left Ojay here farting about with his 50mm lens and his new found love of everything that is a DERP (think he’s been down South too long). A step through a plastic curtain and the whole place opened up, and there was the upstairs too, far, far bigger than it looked and something of interest at each turn.


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    This is the main warehouse area, the section of the building is old with brick arch vaulted ceilings and remains of Lancashire flag floors.


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    Seemed to have missed the Lucky Dip, everything in the 2 acres of storage was auctioned off in 2013, there was a lot of unique items.


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    Upstairs storage racks, now empty.


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    A nicely framed white door, nice to see Host also took a similar photo on rereading his report.


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    The odd bit of interest still live on the shelves up here.


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    Plus some specialist equipment, 48” waist overalls for the pie cognisor.


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    Apart from the white board this was my favourite place in here, the old stables. Cobblestones and still some of the feeders, dated back to when the company delivered its goods to the local mills my horse and carriage.


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    Looking back to the main warehouse now we have a bit of sun.


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    There’s probably enough Dubbin here to waterproof all the boots in the British Army, must be 25 years since I last Dubbined my Sunday stroll boots as we now have Goretex.


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    More or less back to the start now, but would have been rude not to have had a quick look around the offices. A Derpers dream.


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    A discarded rupture belt.


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    Well that’s it, from what started as a poor trashed explore, it soon metamorphosed into a very enjoyable few hours. The place just goes on and on and has hidden gems at most turns.


    Hopefully this won’t be the last report on here before it get demolished for better things!/redevelopment; but as long as Camelot is just up the road I doubt it.


    Cheers,


    TLR.
     
    Skushtrana, Speed, Keynsham and 2 others like this.

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  2. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Brilliant report and pics, sounds like a lot of fun :thumb
     
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  3. Nickindroy

    Nickindroy A Porky Prime Cut
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    For a Sunday stroll on a Saturday, that a belter TLR. As a bonus, I've learnt that Arkwright's first name was Albert, never knew that! :thumb
     
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  4. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    That looks like a decent explore in my book. The stables are amazing.
     
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  5. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Nicely covered and also @host's thread too :thumb

    I'm not sure how I managed to drive to this after 2 hours sleep and enough booze to sink a battle ship the night before :D

    You are right though, this place was an institution and they literally stocked everything!!

    I always wanted to know what was behind that old trade counter, and now having visited what I can only describe as a Tardis I now know how they managed to store all that stuff

    Although stripped, dark & dank, I thoroughly enjoyed it and sort of wished we'd made the collective effort when it first closed, when it rains go in derps :p

    I have to laugh at your Camelot reference, because somehow people will drive the length and breadth of the country to see such shit and ignore gems like this, which still lurk in every town up and down this country

    ...shit I'm starting to sound like @Speed :coat

    Excellent report and comedy access has meant my 2 day old Berghaus trousers are now ripped, shame they didn't have any of those left in stock
     
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  6. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Such a beauty of a place, so much to see :thumb nicely done :thumb
     
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  7. Stopford_lad

    Stopford_lad foul-mouthed oaf
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    Chillington Hoe and shaft :D Don't know why that tickled me, but it did...
    Great building and a class report mate :thumb
     
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  8. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Classic that, and reminds me of a time I went here for some replacement grid keys

    They really were an added bonus, shame the horse had bolted here

    It's deteriorated quite a bit sadly as the pikey's have stripped the roof off the 3 main buildings of all the slate, and a real shame to see it in that state having shopped here for well over 20 years myself on and off

    And then there was this

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    Epic that, and wished I'd taken a pic now, sums the place up good and proper!

    (They never had Dutch hoes in stock the times I visited) ;)
     
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  9. Snake Oil

    Snake Oil go in drains
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    Nice one, not seen this one before, I love places like this (reminds me of an old bike shop in Old Trafford I used to go to when I was a kid :D )
     
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  10. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Yeah fucking don't they.
     
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  11. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Funny that, reminds me of an old bike shop in Salisbury I explored once. About a hundredth of the size of this place though.
     
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  12. stranton

    stranton subterranean explorer
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    very good thread,
    some nice relics there.

    Well done getting Ojay away from drains :D :p
     
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  13. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    Absolutely spot on mate, thanks for the heads up too. Nothing seems to have changed since my visit. i missed the cellar too gutted that looks worthy of another visit, i love the write up to mate you did your home work on that..Lets hope some more people can make the effort now.
     
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  14. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    I'm not saying it hasn't been posted elsewhere, but that's the first time I've read the history, thanks, very interesting and a real shame.
     
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  15. The Shepshed Diamondback

    The Shepshed Diamondback Slithering down a drain near you
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    I Really loved reading this report.
     
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