Report - - British Celanese, Spondon - March 2014 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - British Celanese, Spondon - March 2014


( . Y . )
Regular User
British Celanese, Spondon.

Visited on numerous occasions with a number of explorers.

History from wikipedia:

British Celanese was a chemical company based in England. Formed in 1916, it survived as an independent company until 1957 when it became a subsidiary of Courtaulds.

The origins of the company lie with two brothers, Henri and Camille Dreyfus. In 1912 they set up "Cellonit Gesellschaft Dreyfus and Co" in Basel, Switzerland. In 1916 the brothers were invited to live in Britain by the British Government, to produce their recently developed cellulose acetate dope for the war effort; the canvas skins of aircraft of the time were sealed and made taut with nitrocellulose dope, which was easily ignited by bullets. They developed the necessary plant and "British Cellulose and Chemical Manufacturing Co" was registered on March 18, 1916.

The British Government patented the process developed by Henri Dreyfus, which lowered the costs of acetic anhydride production, an important reagent in the production of cellulose acetate. At the end of World War I, the British Government cancelled all contracts and the company changed to produce acetate fibres. In 1923 the company name was changed to British Celanese Ltd, a contraction of cellulose and ease. Softer and stronger, as well as being cheaper to produce than other fabrics used at the time such as satin or taffeta, Celanese was used in the production of garments. British Celanese was the first factory in Britain to produce propylene and from it isopropyl alcohol and acetone in 1942. Clarifoil production developed out of cellulose acetate yarn technology. Clarifoil full-scale production commenced from 1947. Henri Dreyfus died in 1944. Camille Dreyfus died in 1956.

In 1957, British Celanese was taken over by Courtaulds. The site is now operated by Celanese. The plant finally closed after the last shift on Wednesday 14th November 2012.

First off I'd like to express thanks to Boba Low and drhowser for their help regarding the site, however those guys had focused their efforts on the nearby power station; no one had yet explored the absurd factory that sits decaying just a few hundred feet away. As a result myself and PopPunkJamie had no idea what to expect when we rocked up in early March, and initially it didn't look promising; perimeter littered with dome cameras, red Defender patrolling etc etc. However as always a bit of persistence paid off.

If you haven't already been here then might I suggest you make the effort. It's easily the biggest site I've ever seen and there's so much still to see here it's bordering on the ridiculous.

Security's shit too which is always a bonus.


Looking through my pictures I realise that I've neglected to include photographs of the more heavy industrial side of things - my humble kit lens just isn't up to it (that's my excuse for my shit photos anyway). Instead, I've focused more on the production floors and workshops in this report; I'm sure that Speed et al. will post the bigger stuff in the near future.


Interesting to think that the worlds first synthetic fibres were developed on site, maybe in this very room.



Moving on to acetate tow; I think the fibre was spun in these machines:



Before being compressed into filter tow for fag ends in these large presses:





Electrical workshops:






Technical workshops:





More spinning machines:




Love these original silos:





And there we are. I'm acutely aware that my photos aren't up to scratch. I tried to edit them better as well but I think I just made them look scabby and now I can't find the originals. H8in lyf.

I can't see open season lasting forever so I suggest you make the effort sooner rather than later. I've also posted a map in the maps and plan forum which shows you the live bit of the site to avoid. Stay safe kiddos!

professor frink

Reppin Bumbaclaat
28DL Full Member
People mourn the loss of Pyestock, fuck Pyestock this is the new Pyestock.

Rik UE

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Well never got to see Pyestock, so this will be my Pyestock!

Great report and photographs aren't bad at all.

Thanks for sharing :)

Love the last couple of photos, I am a rooftop person!


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
"Before being compressed into filter tow for fag ends in these large presses:"
No. These are filter presses for filtering the dope. A thick filter cloth goes over each plate then the hydraulics are used to clamp it all tight. Then pump your solution of cellulose acetate in acetone through (under very high pressure because acetate dope is like treacle) and it should be free from bits that would block the spinnerettes.
Nice to see the place again, from a safe distance.

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