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Report - - GKN Screw Factory, Birmingham - 16/6/09 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - GKN Screw Factory, Birmingham - 16/6/09

Adders

living in a cold world
Regular User
#1
Having seen some old reports on this place I set about looking into it, expecting it to have been demolished as it's been over 2 years since the last report on here. I was then surprised to find out I was already researching the building after seeing it on my recent trip to the Abberley Street industrial estate in Smethwick.

In Derelict UK's report (http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=8339) he mentions workmen errecting a metal fence in the outside area. This has now become a furniture company's factory and offices, and the front building has been renovated and now houses them. By my reckoning this is where the main entrance to the underground tunnels were. I found another way underground, next to the canal, but in every direction I went I was faced with a caved in ceiling, blocking off the tunnels. :banghead

I had a good couple hour walk around the workshop area, and the logistics warehouse over the canal. Found an old foreman's manual which had LOADS of old handbooks and leaflets, including a 1969 social member card.

A little history;
Joseph Henry Nettlefold was born in London to John Sutton Nettlefold who, in 1854, dispatched him to manage the business of Nettlefold and Chamberlain in Birmingham with his brother Edward and cousin Joseph Chamberlain. The Chamberlains left the firm in 1874 and Edward died in 1878, leaving effective control of Birmingham manufacturing and engineering to Joseph, and his younger brother Frederick Nettlefold as chairman in London. Nettlefolds Ltd was launched as a limited company in 1880 and Nettlefold, by a series of astute mergers and acquisitions, went on to establish a virtual monopoly in the British wood-screw market.

Nettlefold was a sober man whose principal interests were technical. He became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1860.

Though both his parents were Unitarian, Nettlefold married a Roman Catholic, Mary Maria Seaborne (born 1835), in 1867. None of their three daughters went on to have any connection with the family business.

On 9 July 1900, the Dowlais Iron Company and Arthur Keen's Patent Nut and Bolt Company merged to form Guest, Keen & Co. Ltd.

Nettlefolds Limited, a leading manufacturer of fasteners, had been established in Smethwick in 1854 and was acquired in 1902 leading to the change of name to Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds.

These mergers heralded half a century in which the name GKN became synonymous with the manufacture of screws, nuts, bolts and other fasteners. The company reflected the vertical integration fashionable at the time embracing activities from coal and ore extraction, and iron and steel making to manufacturing finished goods. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GKN_plc
Photos;

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Staff locker room

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Main workshop space

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Some of the relics in the foreman's manual. It also housed the BIGGEST spider I've encountered exploring so far. Made me jump. :gay

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A smaller workshop which was at the front of the building, through the next room were stairs to upstairs offices and the Gauge room.

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I found "a few" screws on the ground, and couldn't resist.

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These were in the Logistics warehouse the other side of the canal.

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Gutted about the tunnels though. :( I wouldnl't mind heading back and checking out the roof though, ran out of light by the time I'd finished the buildings, so called it a day.
 

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