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Report - McCormick's Candy Factory (London, Canada - June 2013)

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by jerm IX, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. jerm IX

    jerm IX 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    I must admit, I have a sweet tooth. Not just for candy and chocolate either. I also have a sweet tooth for abandoned buildings and underground hip hop music.

    On this day, I would satiate them all.

    After a long drive, the main course came in the form of the Candy Factory.

    Thomas McCormick immigrated from Northern Ireland to London, Ontario in 1849 and worked as a grocery clerk before becoming a confectioner. He started a small confectionery business in 1858 and built it into one of the largest in Canada, earning him the moniker 'The King of Candy'.

    Thomas' three sons followed in their father's footsteps. They grew up working for the family business, and after their father passed away in 1906, Frank, George and Thomas Jr. purchased McCormick's from the Estate and took control of the company.

    Having outgrown yet another facility, Thomas Jr. travelled the globe researching the most effective methods for candy, chocolate and biscuit production. Local architects Watt and Blackwell were commissioned to design a new state of the art McCormick's candy factory. The new five-storey, 432,000 square-foot building, which cost $1 million to construct, opened in 1914 with 420 employees and was billed as “one of the finest and most sanitary factories in North America.â€￾ At that time the plant produced 61,000 kg of candy and 45,000 kg of biscuits per day.

    The candy factory was, and still is, commonly referred to by locals as the "Palace of Sweets," for obvious reasons, and the "Sunshine Palace," due to the unique design feature in which windows made up 68 percent of the exterior walls. Constructed of concrete and steel and faced with white glazed terra cotta, the plant played catalyst to the subsequent surrounding development of the industrial heart of Old East London.

    According to company records, there were 1,194 employees in 1952.

    At some point, the sprawling warehouse buildings were added at the rear of the plant.

    In its latter years, the company struggled to stay afloat and the brand changed hands several times. In December of 2006, there began to be cause for concern for the employees: new raw materials were not being ordered, machines were not undergoing scheduled maintenance and management became unreachable. This concern escalated when all 275 employees were sent on their regular two week Christmas holidays, but were told not to return until late January. On January 3rd of 2007, the bad news broke: McCormick's had gone into receivership and the plant was to be immediately shut down...

    More info and pics can be found here...

    jermalism: Abandonment Issues: McCormicks Candy Factory


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