Report - - GKN & CBPS Buildings, Smethwick - May, 2012 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - GKN & CBPS Buildings, Smethwick - May, 2012


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
OK, so again here's the history I found about GKN:
In 1966, in a programme of diversification, GKN acquired Birfield Ltd, a company that since 1938 had incorporated both the Sheffield based overdrive manufacturer, Laycock Engineering, and Hardy Spicer Limited of Birmingham, England, a manufacturer of constant-velocity joints.[8] Historically, such joints had had few applications, even following the improved design proposed by Alfred H. Rzeppa in 1936. However, in 1959, Alec Issigonis had developed the revolutionary Mini motor car which relied on the Hardy Spicer joints for its front wheel drive technology. The massive expansion in the exploitation of front wheel drive in the 1970s and 1980s led to the acquisition of other similar businesses and a 43% share of the world market by 2002.[7]
On the death of founder Tony Vandervell in 1967, GKN acquired the lucrative Maidenhead based Vandervell bearing manufacturer which was at the time already exporting more than 50% of its output to overseas vehicle manufacturers.[8] This was part of a larger trend for GKN which during this period, under its Managing Director Raymond Brookes, was working to reduce its dependence on UK auto-maker customers at a time when the domestic industry was seen to be stumbling, in response to bewildering "Government interference and fiscal short-sightedness", with British new car registrations in the first four months of 1969 a massive 33% down on the corresponding period of the previous year.[8]
As a result of the large number of mergers, Abram Games was commissioned to developed a new corporate identity in 1969 when the distinctive angular GKN symbol was created and the new company colours of blue and white introduced.[9]
During the 1980s, GKN sought to invest its earnings from constant-velocity joints in developing other nascent technologies. However, little success attended these efforts and in 1991 the company resolved to abandon further research and to redivert its development efforts towards its constant-velocity joint business in which it was facing increasing competition from Japan. During the same period, the company finally withdrew from the manufacture of fasteners and from steel production. Changing its name to GKN plc, it diversified into military vehicles, aerospace and industrial services.
In 1994, GKN acquired the helicopter manufacturing business of Westland Aircraft.[7] In 1998 the armoured vehicle business was sold to Alvis plc,[7] and subsequently incorporated into Alvis Vickers Ltd. In July 2000 Finmeccanica and GKN agreed to merge their respective helicopter subsidiaries to form AgustaWestland.[7] In 2004 GKN completed the sale of its 50% shareholding in AgustaWestland to Finmeccanica.[7]
From the late 1990s, the company built a major global business in powder metallurgy, which operates as the GKN Sinter Metals group.

I'm pretty sure this is correct about CBPS, but I've struggled to find much out about them. Cowal Building & Plumbing Supplies Ltd (CBPS) are a supplier of building and plumbing materials. They seemed to have used the building there for a while, but at the moment it's completely vacant - and the gates are all locked up. It looks as though they just upped and left.

If the CBPS in Smethwick is the same company I found, here's their website incase you wanna read up on it: http://www.cowalbuilding.co.uk/aboutus.htm

When we went (my girlfriend and I, yes I got her into UE'ing :D) we only had around 40 minutes :(
So, here's some photo's I managed to snap (and there'll be more coming eventually):


1. The road running around the back. Although you wouldn't think it's a road judging by the amount of rubble knocking about


2. Some more rubble and road


3. We walked past this camera, I'm pretty sure it never caught us


4. I was going to venture over this, then thought "nah"


5. A big ol' tower of a building - wish I could have got in here


6. The yard near the tower was just brick and tyres so I didn't bother trying to cross it


7. Glad the window was open, was a tad warm


8. At least this survived


9. There was a door with the handle smashed out, so I popped my lens through and snapped this. Just some shelving with some boots and what appeared to be changing rooms (maybe?). We never entered as we could hear running water


10. Don't know how this remained upright. I'm guessing one of you lot did it ;)


11. Rusty old cans near a little shack. I looked under the roof and saw access to underneath the yard - but I didn't venture in as I had no torch


12. What I assume was CBPS's building. Full of doors, cabinets and fire damage


13. Some metal boxes, which I assume used to be in the GKN part of the site


14. Not going to be much use


15. Ello, ello, ello... what do we have here?!


16. I found a lil' office room by the looks of things. Obviously some people had been in here as it was ransacked and things were stacked for photos


17. The inside looking out


18. The boxes in the office that were stacked


19. One of the draws, the sticker read "large handles" and the torn one, I think, said "brushes". Only a guess from the "BRU" - maybe it has Iron Bru in it?

Hopefully you like what I found this time around, and like I said, next time I'm bringing a torch, head torch, heavy duty gloves and boots! Time to get grimy! :thumb
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