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Report - - Gisleham Pipe & Brickworks, Lowestoft, Suffolk - August 2023 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Gisleham Pipe & Brickworks, Lowestoft, Suffolk - August 2023

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dansgas1000

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Introduction
This is my third visit to this local old Pipe and Brickworks site. On the first visit I was only using my phone for photos and didn’t go upstairs, I did bring the camera on my second visit but again I didn’t go upstairs as I didn’t trust the old wooden ladder, especially after Mookster’s incident with it. Anyway, last Saturday I wanted to go somewhere local and I thought I’d give this another go and finally complete it. I didn’t use the ladder and opted for climbing the machinery working my way up to the second and third levels. I visited solo this time. It's been covered quite a few times before, including a report from myself, but I really like this one so thought I would provide an update with some more detailed photos and descriptions.

Information & History
The site was originally known as Gisleham Steam Brickworks and was founded in 1934 by Lowestoft-based builders Easey Bros. During the 1940s, around 40 workers were employed on the site, this dropped to just 14 at the end of the seventies. The original works had four coal-fired Scotch kilns which were able to produce 48000 bricks per week per kiln. The current oil-fired kilns on the site were able to produce much more than this. The newer kilns were designed and built with the help of a non-specialist builder as a kiln designer couldn’t be sourced.

The company expanded in the 1950s and added agricultural field drain pipes to its manufacturing portfolio. The site was able to produce 60,000 of these per week. During this period, the company changed its name to Gisleham Pipe and Brick Works Ltd to reflect the expansion. Brickmaking operations at the site ceased in 1967 allowing the company to focus fully on the pipes. The works closed in 1985.

One information source suggested that the site was going to be re-purposed as a museum quite some years back now, but it's evident that nothing came about of this. The site today remains derelict, but part of the site is used by a recycling company. The three oil-fired kilns remain, along with a large storage building presumably for the bricks and pipes, and the best bit which is the corrugated moulding shed.

The Explore
Much like the first two times, it was very relaxed and I spent a chilled-out couple of hours there getting shots. The upstairs floors are not in great condition and it is a bit of a death trap up there but fine if you are careful. It was great to finally complete all parts of this place, it's been in the back of my mind for a while now.

Onto the photos. From the way I entered the site, the first things you come across are the kilns. There are three remaining and are all in pretty good nick. There’s a large metal support around them for strengthening.

kiln 1.jpg


kiln 2.jpg


The kilns are largely empty inside:

inside kiln 1.jpg


inside kiln 2.jpg


Moving on to the storage warehouse on the site, not much to see here:

storage 1.jpg


storage 2.jpg


A view of the storage building from the top of the moulding shed:

storage 3.jpg


At the other end of this building there’s a pile of dilapidated metal and heras fencing, after passing this you are greeted with the exterior of the corrugated shed. Almost all machinery still remains and has fared well over the years:

exterior 1.jpg


Just outside the entrance, there are some old plinths and bolts where the Crossley diesel engine would have sat. This powered the system and has since been removed. Near to this is a lovely old wheel which would have been connected to the engine to drive the various wheels/conveyers inside the shed:

wheel 1.jpg


Four water cooling tanks are still present, but are slowly being taken over by vegetation:

tanks.jpg


Heading inside…

door.jpg


This is the main piece of machinery inside. I don’t know the ins and outs of how it worked but it is very nice. The system, or at least part of it, was manufactured by Wootton Brothers engineers who specialised in iron and brass manufacture. According to the National Archives, the company was founded in 1893 and operated until a few years after World War II.

machinery 1.jpg


The rear of the machine, in my opinion, is even more impressive with large cogs that helped drive the system:

cog 1.jpg


cog 2.jpg


cog 3.jpg


There are belts and pulleys everywhere in here, most are still intact too!

belt 1.jpg


belt 2.jpg


belt 4.jpg


Against the wall is a nice old wooden workbench:

workbench.jpg


workbench 2.jpg


Moving on upstairs, plenty more gear to see:

Upstairs 1.jpg


upstairs 2.jpg


upstairs 3.jpg


upstairs 5.jpg


upstairs 7.jpg


At the very top is an old track that leads down. Carts were used to move the products from the top:

top 1.jpg


Also at the top is a screw/auger conveyor which would have been used to shift fine aggregate materials and/or water. The earliest example of one of these is the Archimedes' screw which are primarily used to pump water.

top 2.jpg


Thanks for looking!
 

dansgas1000

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Liking that. Cracking shots too.
Cheers mate, it has a very rustic and old-school feel to it.

Nicely shot, can imagine it's pretty tight to setup the tripod in there
Thanks mate, It's not actually as bad as you would think but it is a little tight in places to get certain angles. It is a bit grim in there with quite a bit of dust. For some of the shots I did have to balance the tripod on equipment and I had to balance on some of the machinery to do some handhelds too but it's all part of the fun :D
 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Some really decent reports coming into the forums at the moment and that's another one! Nicely shot, especially the kilns
 

dansgas1000

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nicely shot, I really liked the machinery in this place
Cheers mate, it's really nice and in pretty good condition too.

Nice retake of the place. It really does have charm about it.
Thanks mate, yeah it's a lovely little place and one I would always visit every now and then for a relaxed look around.

Some really decent reports coming into the forums at the moment and that's another one! Nicely shot, especially the kilns
Cheers mate! The kilns are lovely and thankfully they are listed too.
 

Webbs0710

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Cracking shots there! 👌🏻 Did this the other day, the ladder doesn't seem too bad, I was more concerned with the floors
 

dansgas1000

28DL Regular User
Regular User
nicely done good pics :thumb
Cheers Jezzy!

Cracking shots there! 👌🏻 Did this the other day, the ladder doesn't seem too bad, I was more concerned with the floors
Cheers, it's a nice little place isn't it. Yeah, the ladder isn't as bad as I make it out to be, it's just me being pathetic :rofl The floors aren't great up there! Did you check out Jeld Wen whilst in the area?
 

Webbs0710

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Cheers Jezzy!


Cheers, it's a nice little place isn't it. Yeah, the ladder isn't as bad as I make it out to be, it's just me being pathetic :rofl The floors aren't great up there! Did you check out Jeld Wen whilst in the area?
Naa I didn't unfortunately, I didn't fancy climbing the gates in the middle of the afternoon due to the proximity of all the houses. The massive downpour from the thunderstorm also influenced my decision :lol I did do the feather place in Diss though, although I left early as some cretins turned up and started smashing shit up :banghead
 

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