Report - Lydbrook cable works - Gloucester - May 09

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wikipedia et al said:
H.W. Smith & Co., established in 1910 as the Electric Wire & Cable Co. at the Trafalgar Works in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, moved into new premises on the other side of Stowfield Road near the River Wye and adjacent to the then Steam Railway Junction in 1912, to be known as the Lydbrook Cable Works.

The First World War provided a number of contracts with employee numbers expanding from 40 to 650 with double shilfts being worked. The Cable Works, during the first World War, 1914/18, employed some 650 people, producing cable for the field telephones, some 15,000 miles of it was made. With the end of the War, came a slump in business, and in 1920 the Official Receiver was brought in ending Smith's connection with the factory.

The factory was then acquired by the Edison Swan Electric Co. in the mid 1920s, then employing some 1200 people, producing Power Line Cables and with the greater resources available, the plant at Stowfield further expanded, and was well placed to help with the Second World War, possessing one of only four machines for making lead alloy tube needed for P.L.U.T.O. - (Petroleum Lines Under The Ocean), which allowed fuel to be supplied to the Allied invasion force in Europe from Britain.

In the late 1940s, Edison Swan was swallowed up by the Associated Electrical Company. Integrated with the Siemens Cable Works at Woolwich, the Stowfield Factory at its height employed approximately 1,200 people. The Cable Works came to an end in 1966 with the loss of 650 jobs when the factory was bought by Reed Paper Group, which in its turn was taken over by a Swedish Company SCA. Production reportedly ceased in 1994
Picture of a cable made by the Edison Swan cable company found HERE


Aerial photo of the Factory and surrounding business park.


I saw the visit HERE by clebby and decided to take a visit so, on a sunny afternoon, I found myself here with Hood_mad.

After driving down to the area, we parked opposite and walked down to near the viaduct, past some lads who were having great fun driving golf balls through the windows of the factory. :banghead

I had a look at the sign on the landing stage.


We got spooked at that point by walkers and made our way over the viaduct to have a look.


In the distance, we spotted something so we took a closer look and it was a relatively undamaged pillbox with behind it, a tunnel going into the hillside.



Checking torches, we entered the tunnel which for about 50 yards was flooded, with only rickety stepping stones keeping our feet dry until we gave up and just walked in the water.

Walking out the other side into the warmth was a surprise, we didn't realise how cold the tunnel was.


Walking back through the tunnel to get back to the works, we counted 752 paces end to end, which is near enough 700 metres.

After this, the coast was clear so we made our way over to the factory.


Once inside, we were presented with an awesome factory space.








Top level of the hopppers.



After looking inside the factory, we made our way outside.




Just after I took this photo, hood_mad spotted the guard hut with the light on. I snuck up to take a closer look and then all hell broke loose (or appeared to). A guard dog locked in the building with "reception" on it started barking at us and disturbed the guard in the hut. We sprinted through the factory floor and out the way we came. Once our breathing had returned to normal, we made our way round the perimiter fence back to the car. We will have to revisit this soon as, looking at the reports, there is so much we missed.

Cheers for looking,