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Report - Hanson Brickworks - Leeds - May 2013.

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, May 20, 2013.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Feb 25, 2010
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    Hanson Brickworks - Leeds


    As with all most good bits of History this has been plagiarized from jST’s report, who acquired it from KooK’s report.

    Surveyors started at the site in 1958, and it seems building of the plant started in 1962 finishing sometime in late 1965 with production starting in 1966. It was built and operated by George Armitage and Sons PLC, who had been making bricks in the Leeds area since 1824.

    The clay pit was "red burning" in colour so clay from other quarries, including their main works at Wakefield, to obtain the variety of colour they required. The site was originally built to produce around 30,000 bricks a day, but by 1982 was capable of 100,000. It seems average brick production in its final years was around 450,000 a week, with sales around 350,000 (they would transfer some to other sites) until the housing slump in 2007 when sales dropped down to around 250,000 bricks a week.

    The current kiln was built in 1972 and is a German LINGI, it has the capacity to fit in 46 cars (AND IS FUCKING MASSIVE) They manufactured a wide range of bricks including facings, paviors, engineering and acid resistant. They provided all 1,000,000 bricks to build Barton Square, the second phase of the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

    In 1988 it was taken over by Marshall's and the change from a family run business seemed to upset a lot of the work force. They seemed happier when the brickworks was accquired by Hanson Aggregates (not sure when), I'm sure we're all familiar with them, but there's some history here, but after a drop of 40% in sales after the deterioration of the building industry they closed the works with a loss of 45 jobs in October 2008.

    The closure seems like a real shame as it was quite evident from walking around that they were a tight knit bunch with lots of in jokes, and their newsletter 'The Jungle Telegraph' is a testament to that, as well as some of the work force being there 40+ years.

    My Visit

    I’ve wanted to have a look here for a fair bit, even though when you get inside it looks if you turned a switch the whole place would spring back into life, for some reason it has not hit the tourist trail. It’s a huge site, and in the main untouched in the 5 years since it closed.


    Heading here I realised I didn’t even know if it was still doable or what state it was in, a quick drive past didn’t give too much away. From a new vantage point all looked quiet so in I went starting with a couple of the larger out buildings.


    At this point I started hearing a diesel engine, but I was out of sight so would worry about it in a bit, so a few more photos.



    It soon became time to find out where noise was coming from, and if I could continue towards the main building. It turned out to be a large diesel generator; which meant that the site wasn’t derelict, someone would have to fill the diesel tank up at some point and if so were they in the main building?

    Only one way to find out, so headed off to find a way in, I wasn’t disappointed.



    I soon found my way into the main area, it is huge and so far no sign of anyone else on the site.



    The noise from the generator was now pretty loud, a peep around the corner found the roller shutter doors open so I gave this end a miss and popped upstairs out the way.


    I was nicely rewarded with a control panel.



    Just after this photo another diesel engine fired up and I could hear it driving about outside, I did have that felling I wasn’t alone from the start, best option was to carry on regardless and get a few more photos, so headed down to the workshops and store rooms.




    All had gone quite outside which made it a good time to bail, I had to smile as I passed DHL drawn in the dust, good to see his mark still around. Retracing my steps I could see fresh tyre marks in the mud and wet prints on the floor, the roar of the engine started to get louder again, this wasn’t a problem as I was out of there, but out of interest I wanted to see what it was?


    Just a dumper truck in the end, but the site is obviously not fully shut down.

    A very grand day out,


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