Report - British Xylonite/Factories - Brantham, Suffolk

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
May 6, 2015
Essex, Colchester
The explore
The Brantham factories site is local to me, only being a 5 minute drive. I visited here with one other and we were there for roughly an hour.
Access is fairly easy even though it is neighbouring to a semi-live site, the first building you come to is called Chalkwell, after looking around inside we managed to get onto the roof which gives a good view of the rest of the site over the other side of the train line.
Once we passed under the railway bridge, the rest of the site is quite large and still mostly standing. I assume the machinery that demolished the rest of the factories isn't easy to pass under the bridge.
Overall this was a relaxed explore, we managed to get a good look around without any bother from security.

British Xylonite (BX) Plastics was a former plastics engineering and production company. The company was one of three subsidiaries of the
British Xylonite Company established by 1938. BX Plastics made xylonite (also known as celluloid or ivoride) and lactoid (also known as casein) at a plant to the south of Brantham in Suffolk, on the north bank of the River Stour across the river from Manningtree in Essex. The company was liquidated in 1999.
The British Xylonite Company had been established by English inventor Daniel Spill in 1877, with American investor Levi Parsons Merriam.[1] It established factories at Hackney Wick and Homerton, in East London, and then expanded to Brooklands Farm near Brantham in 1887 and Hale End near Walthamstow in 1897.[2]

By 1938 British Xylonite had established three subsidiaries - BX Plastics, Halex and Cascelloid. [3] Halex was based in Highams Park, Hale End, in North London and made finished goods (including table tennis balls). Cascelloid had been acquired in 1931, based in Leicester and Coalville, and made toys. Cascelloid was later renamed Palitoy and sold to General Mills in 1968 and then to Tonka 1987, which was acquired by Hasbro in 1991.
Distillers acquired a 50% interest in BX Plastics in 1939, and Distillers then acquired the rest of the British Xylonite group in 1961, merging it into a 50:50 joint venture with Union Carbide's Bakelite company in 1962 to form Bakelite Xylonite in 1963. [4] Distillers sold its 50% interest to BP in 1967, and Union Carbide's European interests were acquired by British Petroleum in 1978, including the remaining Bakelite Xylonite plants.

The Brantham site had been sold in 1966 to British Industrial Plastics, a subsidiary of Turner & Newall, who were in turn acquired Storey Brothers of Lancaster in 1977. The company became Wardle Storeys in 1984. The site finally closed in 2007 and has remained empty since.













28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Oct 11, 2015
No work has commenced yet but like you say, it not going to be there that much longer which is a real shame for such a great sight.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Oct 11, 2015
If nothing else it will dramatically change the sight which would be cool to do before and after shots and even some mid build shots if you get where I'm coming from.