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Report - ICI - Brantham - Feb 2012

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Speed, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Little report here from something ive been waiting a while to have a closer look at.

    The ICI works at Brantham sits right next to the old British Xylonite / Wardley Storeys site that you should have seen our reports from a couple of years back. It has always been rather difficult to trace back the history of the various companies involved in the area and indeed now it is all owned by the same development group its also hard to know where one factory ended and another began! A big chunk of the ICI works is still live running under the name of Akzo Nobel (who i think took over the whole of UK ICI in 2008 thus closing down development areas on this site) but having driven down there recently it was obvious there were big chunks of the site sitting derelict.

    I had naturally assumed that ICI would once have been part of Xylonite but upon exploring i found another name associated with the site that makes me doubt that slightly. If anyone knows more on how 'Bexford Industries' fits into the equation please speak up!

    In the end i covered a few buildings, a large block of labs, a block of offices/manufacturing type areas, the former canteen/social club and a small bath house type affair which appeared to have been out of use a lot longer and contained uniforms branded with Bexford rather then ICI.. All in all i think it accounts for about a quarter of the buildings on site. The rest were either live, indistinguishable, or too small and empty to bother with! I think its is pretty inevitable more will close at some point in the future.

    As far as i can work out the company manufacture thin plastic films for the printing and photographic industries. Looked to me like they were trying to develop a process similar to laser printing but im guessing it never caught on!

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  2. Dick Barton

    Dick Barton 28DL Member
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    Just after the war, I joined Bexford as an engineer. It was almost a green field site but quickly buildings went up to manufacture photographic film base . Based on methylene chloride as the solvent . E. G Cousens was the Md. It was half owned by B C Plastics and half by Ilford. More info from dickbarton727@hotmail.com
    Interesting !,
     
  3. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Thanks Dick. Thats interesting. Do you know when it went over to ICI ownership? Any more info on the company would be great as the internet doesn't turn much up.. Most of these buildings are gone now i think but more of the site is empty now too.
     
  4. Dick Barton

    Dick Barton 28DL Member
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    No idea, I fear. I was only there from 1947 to 1955. Under WH Scott, chief engineer, we built a large dust free air conditioned building and four casting machines which were continuous copper bands on which the film was "cast". Some chemical plant recovered and re distilled the solvent. There were a few old drum type machines passed over from BX. One exploded and Bill Hudson, son of MD of Selo works of Ilford, was injured.
    The engineering workshop was in a "Romney" hut, a larger version of the ubiquitous Nissen hut. Very cold in winter despite attempts at insulation.
     
  5. Birdman1000

    Birdman1000 28DL Member
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    I am pretty sure that I have tried to post this before................
    I worked For Bexford, later ICI Imagedata, from 1977, for nearly 18 years. It was taken over by ICI around 1964 when it was the biggest single customer for ICI Melinex. Note that it never was Bexford Industries - that name I have traced online to a school child's report who must have been watching too much "mild man and Planet reporter" type TV.
    It was originally a joint venture between BX Plastics and Ilford (photographic film manufacturers), hence the anagram name. Before polyester film became generally available, Bexford produced only cast cellulose di- and tri-acetate films. Cellulose films were manufactured until the very late 80's.
    The site next door, originally BX Plastics, had numerous names - BXL, BXP, BIP, Storey's, and others, as it was bought and taken over over the years. That made PVC films in the main but also polystyrene, xylonite and other plastics - BX stood for Bakelite xylonite.
    The BX polypropylene film unit on the site was also sold separately and had several names, including Moplefan.

    Bexford also manufactured many, many thousands of tonnes of OHP films for xerographic (including Laser), ink-jet and pen-plot printers. They were the major supplier to Xerox by a very wide margin.

    Optical tape never got anywhere - it was made redundant by better technology appearing before it was born. It was a very similar principle to magnetic floppy discs, but used a laser to record data on tape or discs - VERY similar to how CD-R works.
     
    #5 Birdman1000, Mar 16, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  6. willfinch36

    willfinch36 28DL Full Member
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    Interesting. Thanks for that Birdman.
     
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