Report - Nestlé Coffee Factory, Hayes - June 2015

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( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
Nestlé Coffee Factory, Hayes.

Visited with Speed.


We'd actually had our eye on this place for some months prior to our visit, but when it came to scoping it out it always looked just a little bit too live for our liking and so it was put off for another day when we knew what was going on. Now I'm one of those self-important bellends who's not on any social media, but I decided to create a dummy facebook profile so I could infiltrate the ex-employees group to see what was what. My plan was almost thwarted when an admin messaged me to ask what department I had worked in and when, but fortunately he believed my ludicrous story of 'Green Bean Delivery 2002-2005' and I was let in, despite the age on my fake profile being just 18! Once in I established that the plant had properly closed and we were good to go. The lesson to learn from this is that dishonesty and deceit works, to the extent that a few months later I even got invited to an admins birthday party!


Actually infiltrating the factory itself was somewhat more challenging. Razor wire had been retrofitted to the fences, a live railway and a canal rendered two sides impassable, a security guard seemed to permanently wander round the perimeter, a dog van was stationed next to the security hut and a mobile CCTV unit was parked in the grounds. We returned at night, but before we had even crossed the perimeter a the dog unit hurtled towards us at at least 90, almost taking out a member of the public who happened to be passing the entrance on the way. Whilst the night was a write-off, the fact we got to witness the utterly hilarious situation of the guard simultaneously shouting at us and getting shouted at by the member of the public more than made up for it.

Even our return visit was almost foiled by security - on the way in we immediately encountered a guard on patrol and were forced to make a retreat, and on the way out we almost ran straight into the back of him in exactly the same place! Inside it was a bit 'pipes and tanks' for my liking, but this wasn't entirely unexpected as food places tend to be a bit sterile. Unfortunately a big chunk of the 1930s factory appeared to have been disused for some time, maybe since they stopped making chocolate in the 1990s, and is totally devoid of anything. That said, with a bit more time and luck I'm sure there's a few gems to be found, and the fact we got to climb the chimney was an added bonus.

Some history before I forget:
The factory was opened in 1913 by Eugen Sandow, regarded by many as the father of modern bodybuilding, of all things, who rose to prominence in the late nineteenth century and who claimed that chocolate was the source of his strength.

This business venture was to prove a failure, however, and having been taken over by Hayes Cocoa just three years later in 1916, it was then bought by Nestlé and production began in 1929.

Shortly after the takeover, Nestlé were approached by the Brazilian Coffee Institute who were looking for ways to deal with their surplus coffee supplies.

Nestlé began experimenting with ways to dry and capture the flavours of the beans, and after eight years of trial and error, the world's first instant coffee was devised and introduced to the market in 1939.

The Hayes factory was earmarked as the site that would roll the revolutionary new product off the line, and tonnes of it were sent over to troops fighting in the Second World War.

Hayes also produced some of the company's chocolate products until the end of the 1990s, when all of the factory was given over to the production of coffee.

Some photos - I really couldn't be arsed and stuck it on auto so please excuse the quality:


The stripped chocolate-side of the 1930s factory (note the vaulted ceilings):




And the coffee side, which was a bit more intact:







Product tasting room, with little sinks to spit into:


Tool rooms:



Moving into the more modern extension, a seemingly never-ending maze of pipes and tanks:



And shit control rooms:


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( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
The canteen, complete with some amazing historical photos and newspaper clippings:






Back in the 1930s side, we found a room with some fairly dated ephemera knocking about, including some crazy miniature model of a coffee plant made with straws.


No idea if they made vinegar here?


The real highlight for me was the 130 foot chimney, with one uncaged ladder to the top. Naively we decided to climb this first, instead of leaving it until after we had explored the factory. As a result we got covered in the fetid fibreglass lagging, which caused us considerable discomfort for the next 3 hours.




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( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
Yeah it was sold to a property developer before it had even closed. Not a surprise really, it's probably one of the biggest brownfield sites within the m25. Hopefully they keep that beautiful staircase though, although to be fair it would look pretty stupid just stood there on it's own!


Got Epic?
Staff member
Nov 15, 2005
Suffolk / Birmingham
Its worth mentioning that theres a big chunk of this place at the front of the main plant that we didn't get to explore. Its the old canteen and admin i believe and looked like it had been disused for a while so may actually end up being the best part of the site. Locals need to go there and get it done!


( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
Thanks all. Echoing what Speed says, hopefully someone will investigate the admin block and canteen at the front before it's too late. Wishful thinking I should imagine!

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