Report - - Olympia Mills Boiler House – BOCM Pauls Unitrition – Selby – Jan 2010 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Olympia Mills Boiler House – BOCM Pauls Unitrition – Selby – Jan 2010


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The boiler house is just one part of the derelict complex of the mills, which is directly surrounded by the rest of the BOCM Pauls Selby complex, there are photos from other parts of the mill from Dempsey, myself and others, but the boiler house is so fantastic it deserves a report in its own right.

Mad props for Dempsey for cracking the first parts of this a few years back, and working on it ever since. Today, she delivered the goods...

A brief history…

In 1899 the British Oil & Cake Mills Limited were incorporated to form what is now more commonly known as ‘BOCM’, there were a number of BOCM owned plants around the UK, most notably on the east coast, with its origins in the Essex town of Ipswich.

An animal feed mill has existed on the Selby site on Barlby road since approx 1850, it changed hands many times over the past century or so, most recently in 1992 when ‘BOCM Silcock’ merged with ‘Pauls Agriculture’ to form ‘BOCM Pauls Ltd’ which is as we know it today.

By the mid 1950’s the already extensive mill complex benefitted from a modernisation scheme, which included the building of an all new steam power house (to our disappointment, no turbine alternators were ever installed, though there was provision for at least one unit) on the far eastern end of the site. We found plans for 3 distinctly different styles & internal layout & specifications of this building dating from mid 1957 to 1958, and assume it was completed by the early 1960’s.
Fast forward to 2009, Dempsey & myself were out riding around north Yorkshire on a mission, to explore the crap out of whatever we found, main aim was Hicksons, but after a pleasant sunny afternoon chase around avoiding the fairly vigilant security we happened upon the BOCM Pauls Selby site, we stopped by in ‘Thomas the Bakers’ in Selby town centre (a FANTASTIC BAKERY, please, if you’ve got any taste in pastries, get yourself down there!), then headed around the perfiery of the town, the conversation went something like …
BM – Hey whats that
DMP – that’s the front of the BOCM site
BM – any good?
DMP – yeah theres a small wood workshop at the back, it’s the place with the pigeon killing shotgun security’
BM – sounds good, give it a go much?

Earlier visits had involved mental funny, obscure access into pretty trashed areas of the central mill complex, when I’ve visited again and got some better pictures I will do a separate report for the main body of the mill. For this report, I want to focus purely on the power house, she’s a stunner…

the first group of shots are taken on Kodak Portra 160NC film on a 90's 35mm AF body, the second on a dslr, and eventually I will get the 120mm shots up, from a 1968 TLR, again on Kodak Portra, but 160VC for those ;)


a 1921 postcard showing the central part of the feed mills long before the boiler house was built, but worth putting up anyway.


no.1 External taken on the way out, the BOCM Pauls Unitrition logo having not changed for so many years still sits proud on the side of the very derelict boiler house


No.2 - The State of 'British Industry' is what I titled this one. Reminded me of hickons & welch just down the road, aswell as the numerous rotting power stations and chemical works around the country that we've visited. can't beat an industrial site with ferns & moss growing everywhere.


No.3 - Starting at the top of the boiler house, we both half expected to find a pair of vintage 60's steam turbines driving turbo alternators, but alas, just a coal dust hopper :( Althought the plant was originally designed to have space to accept at least one steam turbine for power generation, though it obviously never happened.


no.4 - going down to the mid levels of the boilers


no.5 - loading hoppers, huge, and absolutly filthy, the whole place was coated in a nice thick layer of the stuff, my shiney new black donkey looked like it had been worn for 20yrs by the time we got out.


no.6 - started a guestbook ;) from this pic you begin to notice just how mint the plant is, little to no chav damage with slight evidence of piking with the heavy 3phase cabling gone, but the rest is minty.


no.7 - I've never seen so many non linking walkways in such a small space before, it was incredibly complex.


no.8 - View down into the backside of the boilers. Apart from the coal dust I can imagine it would have been fairly pleasent to work in here, power & heat plants are often kept clean (a bit like winder rooms on shaft mining sites) with glazed tiles or brickwork making it easy to keep the dust & grime at bay. Most of the building was glazed, though only about 60% of that beeing real glazing, the rest was obscured by plant and internal walls.


no.9 - This view reminded me a lot of Inverkip & Methil boiler houses, with their little white walkways and signs hanging from them many metres up from the next landing.


no.10 - IN selby, its christmas ALL the time


no.11 - comes out better in film! (follow link for digi equivilent http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2727/4356075139_29985898e0_b.jpg )
The caustic tank would have been used to settle the boiler water after being condensed as it would eventually end up acidic (corect me I'm wrong, this is a guess!), behind me is a 1tonne pile of salt blocks, either taken FROM the process, or used to counter it, I'm not sure, anyone knows, drop a comment....


no.12 - Detail of one of the 4 1960's boilers


no.13 - Boilers in various states of undress, also note the vintage vinyl & wood stretcher

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