Report - - Kodak, Harrow - Dec 2016 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Kodak, Harrow - Dec 2016


Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
I’d had my eye on this for a while and hoped it would be full of goodness. Unfortunately, not quite the case.

It was announced back in April 2016 that the site would be closing in November. As November approached I kept an eye out for more news about the closure, but there was literally nothing. That is until I found the contents of the buildings listed on an auction website. Closing dates for bids, and more importantly, dates for removal of the equipment from the site were very specific. The very next week, to be precise. Fuck! Not wanting to miss anything we made the decision to head down that weekend, before the whole lot was emptied out. It turned out that everything was indeed still there, along with the workers, plenty of activity, noise and steam billowing from the building. Bugger! We headed home, tails between our legs and did some Googling. Literally while we had been out, a new news article, the first for months had been published, stating closure was now to take place in December.

I wasn’t going to have the chance to get back for a good few weeks, and was pleased to see others took the chance to get in while stuff remained. Coverage of the site wasn’t great, but confirmed the old power house still contained the old English Electric turbines I wanted to see. These turned out to be the saving grace for a site that from the outside looked like it promised potential, but in reality just lacked any character and was mostly stripped by the time Darbians and I had a look around.

Image stolen from Google​


Kodak’s first facility to open outside the US was located in Harrow, on a 7 acre plot of land. Opening in 1891, the site was originally used to develop photographs and kept around 100 chickens on site to supply the egg white required to coat the paper.

As the factory expanded, production of film rolls started, along with the manufacture of photographic paper. By the 1950s Kodak was the largest manufacturing plant in the British Commonwealth and employed around 6,000 staff.

Much more of the production process took place at the Harrow site in years gone by than it did more recently, including more coating and printing of the back of the paper. By the time of closure, only the final photographic coating was applied at Harrow, everything else was done at Kodak's site in Germany before shipping the rolls of paper over to the UK for completion.

Production of photographic film ended in 2005, owing to the increasing popularity of digital imaging. As the demand for photographic prints dropped, so did production at the Harrow site. Closure was announced in April 2016, and production ceased in December 2016.

No. 2 English Electric turbine with 3.6MW alternator

Originally there were two of these, one was removed some time ago

Turbine and lubrication systems

Turbine control panel

English Electric makers plate on access panel

The more recent alternator No. 3 - A 5MW English Electric

No. 3's Control Panel

Wider view of the turbine hall

These gas units replaced the old coal-fired boilers

The power house control room was a bit disappointing!

The retro-styled board behind was interesting - individual square pins marking out the shift patterns

The old boiler house

Panels and deaerator in the boiler house

More panels

Base of the old chimney. The chimney and power house building will be retained as part of the new development, although will be re-purposed.


Moving into the main factory - this was already mainly stripped with only a few bits of machinery remaining...

A photosphere inside the control room when it was in use can be seen here

Another stripped out control room


Lab equipment

Melting vats

As you approach the production lines called tracks, lighting levels become gradually dimmer. This allowed the operators eyes to adjust to the near-darkness conditions they would be working in during their shift.

Rolls of paper are first loaded into the unwinder machine

This machine could handle two rolls at once, one feeding into the track, whilst the other was being made ready

Next the paper is fed into the coating station which bombards the surface with electrons

Back of the coating station, where the paper then moves to the curtain coater to have the photo-sensitive coating applied.

Finally, the coated paper is put back onto rolls by the realer, ready to be packed and shipped.

The rolls of paper both begin and end their journey in the loading area​
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Camera Drowner
Regular User
Fantastic report!
I'm super curious the post processing processing on your photos, the colours, contrast and sharpness are perfection.


( . Y . )
Regular User
Looks pretty good to me pal. I'm picky as fuck and your report has made me want to visit so you're doing something right!


Bespectacled & irrelevant
Regular User
I'd love a wander round there, how much other stuff had gone that was there on the auction inventories?

professor frink

Reppin Bumbaclaat
28DL Full Member
Nicely captured, good to see there's loads worth seeing.
Handy as It's not too far from me to pay it a visit. :thumb


Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
I'm super curious the post processing processing on your photos, the colours, contrast and sharpness are perfection.
Shoot using RAW! Get it right in camera! Then I process in Lightroom - set Shadows to +100, Highlights to -100 on every image! Sounds weird, but this gets the maximum dynamic range out of the image. Then set the correct exposure using the Whites and Blacks sliders while holding alt key to see a histogram overlay, and slide until the first dots of white or black appear, respectively. It takes a bit of tweaking after that with the Tone Curve to get things looking right, but that's the basics it.


Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
I'd love a wander round there, how much other stuff had gone that was there on the auction inventories?
The inventories have now been removed and I didn't look through it all to be honest, mainly just looked at the power house. I do remember a fair bit of stuff that I never came across though, and even since the others guys visits only a few weeks back a fair bit has gone. Not sure much more will be going though, I think they wanted everything that was sold removing pretty quick.

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