Report - - Edison Swan, Lydbrook - 28/03/10 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Edison Swan, Lydbrook - 28/03/10


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Regular User
Edison Swan Cable Works, Lower Lydbrook

Solo explore this one. (Well, that's not strictly true, my Mum came in one of the buildings!)

We were driving in the Forest of Dean and I saw a sign for Lower Lydbrook. "Mum, turn right, turn right!" I already knew about the site, because I visited in May of last year, and I also knew it was good, very good.

I did a history in the last report, but he's a revised version:

Cable works have been on the site since Harold J Smith purchased some land at Stowfield, near Lower Lydbrook, and opened Lydbrook Cable Works. Originally, the site employed 40 workers, however the First World War provided many new contracts and the company experienced massive expansion, eventually employing 650 people. However, when the Official Receiver was introduced, there was less demand for the cabling produced and it was sold off to Edison Swan Cables.

Edison Swan had access to greater resources and the site fast expanded further, having many extensions over the years.. The Second World War, like the First World War, provided many new contracts – Edison Swan owned one of only four machines that could make the lead alloy tubing required for "Petroleum Lines Under the Ocean" (PLUTO) which allowed fuel to be delivered to the Allied invasion force in Europe. At it's peak it employed 1,100 people.

In 1966 the factory was bought by Reed Paper, and it took on the new name of "Reed Corrugated Cables". It was then purchased by a Swedish packaging firm called SCA, and the site was used as one of several SCA packaging plants around the UK. Production ceased in March 2002 when SCA laid off the final 152 manufacturing and sales staff, moving to a new premises in Newport.​
Here's something quite bizarre. The site's owners are so desparate to squeeze a little money out of the site they are willing to give away a brand new car to anyone taking up a lease. How desparate! :gay

Pictoooore time. I didn't see this factory floor last time - it's actually a large outbuilding. There was even a little gantry crane in here. This is the one my Mum came into! :gay


And what works would be complete without these ?


And on to the largest factory floor on site:


I must say, I liked the effect of the fish-eye.


Apart from the funky colours, it was fairly uninteresting. A few machines remain, however:


And another feature no works should be without:


Here's something I didn't see last time. On the far side of the big factory floor is the "Customer Service" offices. They are no where near as posh as the main admin block, but still had some nice(ish) stairs.


Oh, and some tacky linoleum floors:


The floor managers office was on the second floor, but had a suspended window overlookinf the factory. It seemed unecessary... maybe so he could look down upon the inferiors ? :rolleyes:


The rest of this block was made up of these "formica laminate" offices - eurghhh.


But that office block was nothing compared to the original 1916 admin block. This is the first thing that would greet you as you walked in - marble floors, wood panelling, carved staircases, stained glass - definitely built to impress.


And to top it all off, the paint's starting to peel. ^_^


But despite the photogenic decay, it's an outrage that such a beautiful building is allowed to get into that state. And it's not only natural decay - check out what the police did to the staircase at 2.15 in this video.


The mess on the floor is made up of heaps and heaps of old invoices, reciepts and order slips, mostly dating from 1944.


Access to the loft was via a bizarre ladder inside a 12 foor high, narrow door. The loft was crammed with boxes and boxes (all labelled Edison Swan) of paperwork, again often from 1944.



Customers included GWR, GNER, The Admiralty and Metropilitian Vickers.


There were also old clocking-in cards strewn across the floor:


The Forest of Dean was an industrial region, so functionality often came before beauty in architecture. Hence it's a nice change to see such a stunning building, with it's beautiful wood pannelled hall:




It's hand painted stained glass fanlights:


And it's elegant ceiling plasterwork:


And finally, the kitchens - something else we missed last time.


It was quite an ermm... eventful trip this one. I had been inside for about an hour and a half, and I was just leaving when I bumped into some curious locals who were taking a look round the site in a passageway between two buildings. We struck up conversation - they were perfectly nice guys - and they asked if I'd seen security. Figuring they hadn't been as ninjaaah as me
(:cool:) and had been spotted, I was about to leave them be when security was dragged round the corner by his massive German Shepherd. "Oi! Front gate! Naaaahh!" (I think "naahh" was supposed to mean "now"). So, off I walked towards the front gate. I heard him onto phone to someone about 20m behind. Not wanting to get caught, without even breaking step I hopped over the gate and was on the other side before he could even shout "Oi! Come baarrccckk!"

"Errrrr, Hi Mum! We need to go. Now."



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