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Report - British Celenese Cellulose Acetate Works - Spondon, Derby - 2014

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Speed, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    November 2012 saw the announcement that one of the UKs largest remaining chemical works was due to close. In the true tradition of modern day 'urbex' no one online appeared to be too excited and it went seemingly unnoticed. Even after it was mentioned in a report on the adjacent Derwent power station no one really seemed to bat an eyelid. Myself however, i was down there at the front gate less than a couple of months after that announcement scraping my jaw off the floor at the stunning epic that faced me. This is too good i thought.. Its bound to be really modern inside, bound to be stripped inside, bound to get half demolished before i manage to get in. I was so wrong.

    Fast forward a year and a bit and myself Dave and Joe are standing on the top floor of the solvent reclaim plant admiring the 360deg view of pure virgin industry. Someone says "I actually think this is the biggest place we have ever been" and we all agree. Then Joe gets out his hip flask and we have a toast to the biggest urban explore in memory of (without wanting to blow our trumpets too much) 3 of the Uk's most traveled explorers.

    Exploring this site for me has been one massive blast of fresh air. Not since Pyestock had i felt that there was so much potential for enjoyment from one single place. A place that not only big was utterly new to everyone involved. A perfect opportunity for some REAL exploring and it felt virtually on my doorstep. Many re-vists have ensued and thanks must go out to Dave and Joe, Clebby, Dweeb and Cat, James and his motley crew for company and pointers, Not forgetting Boba and Dr howser for there early attempt that the power plant and advice on its virtually impenetrable security measures..

    So lets get started

    Welcome to the British Cellulose and Chemical Manufacturing Company, Spondon

    First lets tackle what the place actually did.. Not actually that simple.. AND to be honest im still not 100% sure but heres what i know.. Cellulose acetate is extracted from wood pulp and can be dissolved in acetone. In its latter years at least the plant concentrated on two main products from this Acetate. Flake and Tow. 'Flake' being a powdered form of the acetate that could be sold as a 'raw materiel' of sorts and 'Tow' being filter tow, the kind of thing cigarette filters are made from which in essence involved the treatment, filtration, spinning and bailing of the acetate.. In addition to this the plant had areas that manufactured 'special plastics' (your guess is as good as mine) flake chemicals, flame retardants and had a large chemical research division.

    As always a brief history can be yoinked from wikipedia

    Site Overview​


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    Filter Tow and Spinning Lines

    The tow areas take up most of the north east end of the site and spread across 4 or 5 large buildings which are each factories in their own right. From what i could tell the cellulose dope was filtered in large banks on the top floors and then spun on large 3 story high spinning lines before being bailed and shipped out in bulk.​

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    More to Follow Shortly



     

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  2. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Solvent Recovery and Burners

    Not sure exactly what went on here other then the obvious but it was something to do with the acetone and smelt like it too! This area was a bit 'pipes and tanks' for my liking but still a decent mooch

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  3. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    Well I think it's obvious which report is better! Smashing pictures!
     
  4. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Flake

    Another large part of the site and the beginning of the process. From what i can work out the Cellulose is dissolved in acid, reacted and then precipitated again into a white powder. That is your flake. Its then blown over to a couple of large silos on the east side of the site for storage. I don't think ive seen all of this part yet but its a little hard to tell as it borders the 'specialist plastics' area of the site which is still live.

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  5. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Bit more to come later when i have time!
     
  6. Rik UE

    Rik UE 28DL Regular User
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    Friggin Nora!

    What awesome photographs and report! Love the site overview roof shot!

    Brilliant stuff and nice to see some more of this place!
     
  7. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    That is a stunning report, really well shot too.
     
  8. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Thats first class, and great write up. Always wondered what the sign 'Filter Tow' meant whilst speeding through Spondon on the train. :)
     
  9. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Yeah, guess that's epic. Brilliant report :thumb
     
  10. drhowser

    drhowser Bespectacled & irrelevant
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    This was always going to be awesome!

    It was still pretty live when we looked, there were workers everywhere. I'd give a lot to see inside that turbine hall properly too..
     
  11. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    Superb, great report on the place. Can't see places like this being built here anymore.
     
  12. Boba Low

    Boba Low ____/
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    Oh man. Thats a lot to take in. Excellent job, that's done it a lot of justice, and its as gorgeous as I knew whatever factory went with that powerplant had to be!
     
  13. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Really am surprised more people haven't bothered with this place, but maybe that's not a bad thing sometimes
     
  14. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Yeh great for us. Got to get in there before it becomes popular or there's no real point. Done 90% now i think so theres still a bit more to hunt out. Still gotta post my pictures from the workshops, research, offices and power station not to mention all the properly derelict stuff on site which was a bit of a surprise to find.. Maybe this evening after ive finished answering all the PMs lol.. Your a lazy bunch!
     
  15. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    21 Shop

    The main site workshop for fabrication and machining. Lifting tackle stores and quite a bit of miscellaneous. This area is still in use so be careful..

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    Other Workshops

    Scattered around the site there are a number of other workshop buildings and engineering sections, some better than others!


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    Building 48

    One of the first areas we stumbled across. Out of use a long time by the looks of things but still lots to see. It was obviously from the days of the site producing fabrics. 'Celenese' was actually a brand name for their man made wonder fibre. It seemed as if this was some kind of research or testing area rather then full scale production but im not sure.

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    Derelict Areas and Miscellaneous

    It surprised me how many areas there were on site that appeared to have been derelict years, especially when they were one unlocked door away from recently used parts. So much to see in these parts alone. Peeling paint all round! Check out some of the epic signage too!

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    The Power Station (to be continued at some point hopefully!)

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    #15 Speed, Apr 5, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
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