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Report - Crane Foundry - Ipswich's last large scale industry


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Ramsomes, Cranfords, Reavell, Burtons, Scotts and Fission, Tolly Cobbold, R&W Paul, Oilite, British Sugar, a small list of manufacturing industry that Ipswich has lost since the late 1980s. Cranes is probably the last, nothing that i can think of remains of this kind of scale or segnificance anymore!

I first visited Cranes at the end of 2007 after hearing it was due to close over the next year. Over the last 18months ive been back 6 or 7 times, each time the place getting more and more run down and more and more empty. In my early exploring days i used to drive passed here alot and it was one of those places that cought the eye of an explorer straight away. The old skool Crane signs and row upon row of run down looking factory buildings sucked my attention.

Production was still going on in the machine shops during my first few visits, yet the foundrys appeared to have been derelict for quite some time. The site manufactured valves and pipe fittings and had several foundrys on site for bronze and malluable iron. The first part i ventured into was the old bronze foundry, a mere fraction of the whole site yet it was allready looking good. At first glance the place looks empty but start walking around and you find tons of good stuff and its all of a nice 'vintage'

After a few visits id worked out security was virtualy non existant, maybe even totaly non existant. No wokers on site on a Sunday either so i ventured into the main factory on a couple of occasions while production was in full swing. Even when the machine shops and welding bays were still going full steam ahead the iron foundrys were being ripped out and im a little dissepointed i didnt get to see more of that side of things. On my very first visit i spotted the cuplars still in place but by the time id ventured that far into the site they had been pulled down and scrapped.

I returned recently with rooks an turk after hearing that the place had fully closed. The vibe had changed alot, from an on edge live explore to a absolute pikey heaven free for all. Every door open, access everywhere and absolutely no security. Whether thats a good thing im not sure, damage has been done and alot of stuff has gone to the scrappers now but it makes for a fun casual explore. Im still yet to rummage through most of the old offices and stores in the older part of the site but im sure il be back for more ASAP.





















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