Report - BASF Superabsorbents, Seacombe, Wirral - April '11

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Cave Monster
28DL Full Member
Feb 18, 2011
History on this site is very scant, unfortunately. It has been mentioned previously by Ste M here. Here's what I can find.

From The Guardian:

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals group BASF yesterday [June 21st 2001] closed its Birkenhead plant with the loss of 178 jobs under a cost-cutting plan to meet the global economic downturn.
Production at Birkenhead, where the staff are being offered alternative jobs with BASF, had stopped on May 16 because of a fire which destroyed large parts of the plant.
From the BBC:

Industry sources have said the Birkenhead facility in particular is under threat of closure.

'Substantially slower'

Under the cost-cutting plans, the company is to reduce capital spending by one fifth, with the aim of meeting an earlier target to increase operating profit by an average of more than 10% for the years 2000 to 2002.
On BASF's own website, the plant only merits one sentence:

Superabsorbents plant in Birkenhead closed after large parts of it were destroyed by explosion and fire.
From the Liverpool Echo:

[...] the German owners decided it would be too costly to re-build. It is believed the explosion was caused by a gas leak in the factory's boiler room. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive is still being carried out.
Externally there seems to be no evidence of the fire, but I did visit at night. Internally I couldn't see any signs of fire, even in the boiler house which was the seat of the fire. I couldn't find the HSE report either.

Right on with the pics!


The first room entered was the Q.A. Lab, but this was promptly ignored. I'd heard tell about the cavernous nature of this place, and it did not disappoint. My torch light was just swallowed by this place


The factory is multi-level, which I find intriguing, but I've never worked in the manufacturing sector


There's an odd mix in here. Some parts are stripped, others aren't. It doesn't look like it's had a visit from the local copper thieves though

[3] [4]

The electric room was trashed, and how tempting is this button...

[5] [6]

Translation fail?


The only evidence of fire in the place


Upstairs we found some interesting structures, nice views...

[9] [10]

...and some quite large drops



I think there has been some abortive attempt at reconstruction


The offices above the Q.A. lab have been trashed, but strangely no where else has


This book was empty. Quite ironic considering what happened in the building


And there was a squatter here at some point, who appears to like golf and tin openers :crazy

[16] [17]


On the way back through the Q.A. labs I spotted the fume cupboard. I haven't seen one of these since before I left school years ago



As usual, the full Flickr set is here.
The slideshow is here
Thanks for looking, I hope to have a follow up at some point, definitely to get some more externals :thumb


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