Report - - GKN Shadow Factory Tunnels, Birmingham, November 2013 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - GKN Shadow Factory Tunnels, Birmingham, November 2013


Poking holes since '84
28DL Full Member
GKN Shadow Factory Tunnels

Visited with RaisinWing and 4lex

So it was that time of year again when the Warley Model Railway Exhibition is held at the NEC and I debate whether to make the pilgrimage or not (mock all you like, trainz are cool yo!) Anyway I arranged to meet Raisin there and head off for some derp after with driver for the day 4lex. After setting off at 6am and a fun day of mini trains (FTW!) we headed for this place. Not a great deal to say about the explore, other than it exceeded my expectation dues it its seeping walls which gave it a Silent Hill feel, which appealed to my warped little brain. From this place we headed to Longbridge Tunnels (report to follow) and had fun and games with some stepping stones and 4lex accidentally securing the site with Raisin and myself trapped inside. Then to top the day off we had to get towed/recovered all the back to Norwich after 4lex's clutch broke a couple of miles from longbridge, finally arriving back home at 5am, a full 24 hours after i got up to leave! anyhow, ramble over - some history;

In 1854 J. S. Nettlefold, a Birmingham screw manufacturer, had revolutionized his industry by introducing automated American machinery. Room was needed to house this; Nettlefold, joined by his brother-in-law Joseph Chamberlain, father of the statesman, established the Heath Street Works in Cranford Street, Smethwick. The firm (until 1874 Nettlefold & Chamberlain and then Nettlefolds Ltd.) dominated the market by the mid 1860s. Among those prominent in its development was the younger Joseph Chamberlain, who joined it in 1854 and soon afterwards took charge of the commercial side of the organization. He became a partner in 1869 and remained with the firm until 1874, when he retired to devote himself to politics. The firm had by then begun to acquire additional premises. In 1869 it bought the Imperial Mills, which stood on the north side of Cranford Street, opposite the Heath Street Works. The mills were converted for the manufacture of nuts and bolts, and a wire-drawing mill, a bar shop, and a nail-making shop were built. In 1880, the year in which it became a limited company, Nettlefolds took over one of its local rivals, the Birmingham Screw Co., which had set up its St. George's Works in Grove Lane in 1868. The newly acquired works was almost as large as the Heath Street Works and faced it from the opposite bank of the Birmingham Canal.

Although the firm continued to expand, its profits fluctuated considerably during the last twenty years of the 19th century, and in 1902 the merger for which Arthur Keen had been working took place: Nettlefolds joined Guest, Keen & Co. to form Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd. By the outbreak of the First World War the new company produced over half the screws and about a quarter of the nuts and bolts made in the country. The amalgamation made the firm the largest employer in the town. In the late 1960s the headquarters of Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd., by then an investment company, adjoined the Heath Street Works, a 50-acre complex run by G.K.N. Screws and Fasteners Ltd. and employing some 4,500 people. G.K.N. had several other subsidiaries in Smethwick. G.K.N. Distributors Ltd. had its headquarters at the London Works, while G.K.N. Group Services Ltd. was in Cranford Street, G.K.N. Reinforcements Ltd. in Alma Street, and G.K.N. Fasteners Corrosion Laboratory in Abberley Street. Smethwick Drop Forgings Ltd. of Rolfe Street, acquired by G.K.N. in 1963, was run as a subsidiary of G.K.N. Forgings Ltd.




















Finally one to keep the trolls happy ;)

Thanks for looking :thumb

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