Report - - British Celanese works, Spondon, Derby. April 2014 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - British Celanese works, Spondon, Derby. April 2014


The quiet one..
28DL Full Member

I love my sleep.

Don’t get much of it at the best of times, so any chance of a lie in is always welcome. However, when a text arrives in the middle of the night, asking if you fancy a visit to what is currently one of the best industrial sites in the UK, the sleep quota can wait.

The very comprehensive,and beautifully shot report from Speed on Spondon Celanese, really did lay down a marker for what this place had to offer. Alot. I’m fairly certain there is a whole load more to see here, the power station and current live bits for starters. So return visits could well be on the cards. After all, it was a 2.5 hour drive to Pyestock from my house, and I did 5 trips up there, door to door, Spondon, is just over 3 hours away, so a follow up is likely!

Things are changing on this site very quickly. Security are a lot more on the ball, and every single door has been screwed shut, making access to some of the buildings somewhat challenging. The lights are out in the main spinning sheds too, which is a shame, as the superb, and massive machines inside deserve better shots than what can be light painted using a torch!

A great afternoons exploring, with great company, and enjoyed playing hide and seek/cat and mouse with the security guys in the van, they never did find us!

Explored with my good friend Urbanity.

A bit of a history timeline....

1912: Cellonit Gesellschaft Dreyfus and Co was set up by Henri and Camille Dreyfus in Basel, Switzerland.

1916: The Government persuades the Dreyfus brothers to bring their acetate coating product to Britain, to a new factory in Spondon.

1923: The British Celanese name is first adopted.

1935: More than 20,000 are working at the Megaloughton Lane factory.

1940: Production at the plant gears up for the war effort by making artificial glass and rope items.

1950: Manufacture of filter tow for use in cigarette filters begins.

1958: Courtaulds takes over but retains the British Celanese name until 1982.

1991: A Joint venture with SNIA Fibres, of Italy, is set up and Courtaulds Chemicals is established.

1998: Dutch giant Akzo Nobel acquires a controlling interest and the company becomes known as Acordis.

2007: Celanese acquires the company and the name changes again, to Celanese Acetate Ltd.

2010: It is announced that the factory could close in 2011.

2011: The Spondon site is given a temporary reprieve due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

2012: The Celanese Corporation confirms the factory will close.

The site is split into 2 parts, looking North. All of these photo’s were from the buildings on the right hand side of the site, as we didn’t fancy venturing to close to the live section.

It would seem, I neglected to take very many external shots!

View looking South from one of the Solvent recovery sheds.


Some have said this place has a similar feel to Pyestock, and with the amount of pipework it is understandable.....There’s miles, and miles of the stuff!


Many of the raw products, and finished product were transported into/out of the site by rail, and the entire site has it’s own internal tracks built into the roads, and it’s own internal steam engine... now long gone.



(picture credits to Paul Bryson, circa 1973)

Former rail loading/Unloading point..


Solvent recovery, now partially stripped..


These pipes still had some nasty smelling stuff dripping out of them!


I don’t do HDR, so no need for this...


The wonderfully named ‘Weak Dope’ storage tanks..

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North & South Press rooms

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The main spinning machines were spread over several buildings. We could only manage to access 2, one very modern, and one older. Both were in total darkness, quite pleased with these shots, as they were lit by the good old trusty Lenser P7.

[/url] 13854163693_a13610a6ab_c.jpg[url=https://flic.kr/p/n7fdcg]


And a selfie to finish...


Thanks for looking..




Regular User
That's an awesome set of snaps :thumb
Didn't get to see these areas during my visit, so a return is definitely on the cards.


Got Epic?
Regular User
ahh you got to find the light switches!!

I was a bit pissed off that loco wasnt in the engine shed anymore! Oh and your right, there is more to come! ;-)

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