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Report - - Kingfield Heath, Birmingham. March 2019. | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Kingfield Heath, Birmingham. March 2019.


chills

• Chief Noob Wrangler •
Regular User
History:

John Heath established his stationery business in 1852, delivering office products around the Birmingham area and later into other parts of the country.

According to a trade press article in The British & Colonial Printer and Stationer, 1892: "John Heath was the originator of a plan of displaying the miscellanea of the stationery trade that has contributed more than any other that we know to the fostering of small sales, with consequent profits. Gradually other houses adopted the same method of showing their wares"

In February of 1993 John Heath acquired Neville and Gladstone, another national wholesaler of office products. Neville and Gladstone had themselves previously acquired Pilot Stationers, Brady and Hunt and Beaumonts Furniture. N & G also introduced their own Punchline brand subsequently adopted by John Heath.

Kingfield Heath was formed in October 1999 by the acquisition of John Heath and Co, the oldest office products wholesaler in the UK, by Kingfield Wholesale Office Supplies.

Between 2000 and 2002 the company set about an ambitious integration of the two companies. The transition included relocation to a new purpose built headquarters in Sheffield and the investment of £20 million in a new 11,000,000 cubic ft. distribution centre at the heart of the UK motorway network at Magna Park in Leicestershire.

During this time the branch network was cut from 17 sites to the 9 that are in operation today, with a reduction in staffing from 1,500 to less than 1,000 employees.

The Kingfield Heath site has stood empty since that closure and is left to fall into ruin as shown today.

In 2016 the Birmingham Mail posted an article addressing that the site would be demolished for housing/apartments but nothing seems to have been followed up as of yet.
> https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/business/new-apartments-digbeth-site-ravaged-12344571


The Explore:

Myself and Yorrick were due to hit Hockley Brook to kick off a weekend of meets and explores for the Big 2019 Meet Up but due to heavy rain resulting in high water levels we postponed it.
As I'd booked the whole weekend off I really didn't want it to go to waste so with some suggestions from Yorrick, I hit Kingfield Health on my first solo explore in a while.

(The last time this got reported on looks like 2015, so it's due an update in my mind, but definitely check out reports from early as 2007 to see what it used to look like in it's early glory days!)

I'd passed this a few times before due to Birmingham being my own patch, but generally passed by due to not having the right kit on me, and being discouraged by the frontage and mounds of rubbish piled up outside. It generally gives you an idea of what you'd find inside, and to an extent, you'd be correct, but at the same time you must remember this is now someones home, and there were some interesting areas and items albeit mostly in ruin.

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Equipped with my new LED Lenser P14 (thank god otherwise I wouldn't of made it half as far as I did) I slipped in and was greeted by a small loading bay stacked with pallets, some burnt. Over recent years a few fires have been lit within the building but due to a mainly concrete structure, it has survived unscathed.

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Heading into the main warehouse the first thing you notice is it's fairly expansive, glass peaked roofs would've covered this but now all the glass is broken and pretty much everywhere you walk crunches. This reminded me of the Typhoo Tea Factory in Birmingham, similar roofs and the same sort of small wooden slab offset flooring.

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In the picture above you can see in the right hand corner the lift shaft, below, the close up carriage. Fairly simple set up but it would allow goods to be transferred between upper and lower levels.

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There's a huge drop to the lower basement level which would've held a conveyer belt to bring product up from the storage area. You can just about see my torch light giving you an idea of the depth.

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Below is the the original conveyer (image taken from @romanian1 report from 2007)

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There would've been a few smaller rooms, probably offices, offset from this main one separated by plasterboard but these were filled with rubbish and not really worth showing.
(If anybody does want to see these extra rooms I can post them but just trying to keep the report relevant!)

Next I headed upstairs, and this is where my torch came into play otherwise I probably gone face first up the steps.

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Upstairs was a state to be frank, but would've also held offices and a call centre but the plasterboard walls have been trashed to create a vast open space where trees are starting to grow and the carpet is covered with moss.

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Not finding much and aware the top was overlooked by an office on one side, and an apartment block on the other, I headed back down and into the basement which really surprised me..

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Heading down the stairs I was greeted by some pleasant graffiti..

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And being alone, I hoped my torch would suffice if I needed to bop someone.

Heading into the basement which seemed to be just as large as the room above, water dripped from the ceiling so some good footwear would be recommended.

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In the corner of the basement was an area that held filing cabinets and lots of sodden files, and next to that, the pulley wheel system for the lift which surprisingly looked pristine in comparison to the building and room I was in.

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On the same wall as the entrance there was a door which I expected to be another storage room, however, I was greeted by this to the left..

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And this to the right..

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First I went left, but it only circled back to the filing cabinets so I went right. The black door is what I assume was a safe at one point with handle and combination dial removed.

At the end of the corridor I turned right and it opened up into another small basement. Walking across carefully placed boards I was amazed by what I found at the end..

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ANOTHER basement. Now, you may be like, a wet basement with sod all in it, Chills? Yes, technically, but when I passed this a few times as I said, I never would've thought of a basement on this scale, and with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Sad I know, but that's just me. I like basements.

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When you see stalactites you know it's wet.

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Heading out of this basement I was met by another loading bay.

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The bottom of the lift shaft.

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And around the side, a gated area that backed onto the road behind.

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In that storage shed, STACKS of papers, you can just about see my torch light showing the extent.

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Winsor & Newton stand. These are great pens if anybody is looking for fine and thick tip permanent markers, I use them myself so this was nice to find.

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The last image I'll upload is back by the loading bay door. At first I thought they were smoke grenades of some kind as I'd seen one or two scattered about in the corridors. As you can just about make out, they're batteries for the security system which would've once been connected. I love finding little details of the original time of use as these are the bits that sometimes survive and go un-noticed!

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I know this is a fairly chunky report on pictures and write up, so if you've read it all and got to the end, thanks!

If you've just skimmed it for the pictures, thanks!

And if you think I've wasted two hours writing this, I think you should get out and find somewhere you may have spotted but never attempted, because you never know what you'll find, albeit sometimes small!

Chills out :thumb

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chills

• Chief Noob Wrangler •
Regular User
Excuse the three images at the bottom of the report after I sign off, first time using the insert image function rather than banging all my images in after the text so may have mucked up somewhere along the way! :banghead

(If an admin can correct this, would be appreciated, thanks!)
 

Yorrick

A fellow of infinite jest
Regular User
Glad you didn't waste your day off. Were there still a couple of guys sleeping in the office area?
 

chills

• Chief Noob Wrangler •
Regular User
Glad you didn't waste your day off. Were there still a couple of guys sleeping in the office area?
There was a bed set up in the main first floor area. Only saw one guy the whole time but he didn’t bother me :)
 

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