Web
Analytics
Report - - Rank Hovis Solent Mills, Southampton - February 2020 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Rank Hovis Solent Mills, Southampton - February 2020


Terminal Decline

28DL Regular User
Regular User
History
The flour mills were built by Joseph Rank on land reclaimed land and opened in 1934. The building was seriously damaged in the Second World War but was rebuilt and back into operation by 1950. The interior of the building has been remodeled several times since and hence its not a particularly easy building to navigate around. Hovis announced closure in early 2018 and the site closed at the end of the year with the loss of 71 jobs. Associated British Ports, which owns the site, intend to flatten the building, with demolition likely to begin this year. It really is a lovely building, especially the original silos, surviving from the first phase of construction with their tiled writing. Its unlikely a new use will be found unfortunately as the building is sited in a working port, but there certainly is potential to turn it onto a hotel for the cruise ship terminal.

I've made a fairly crude plan of the building to make its evolution a bit easier to understand

solent plan.jpg


Original buildings (c 1934)
  • Old silo - original grain storage silo
  • Middle Silo - constructed shortly after the old silo as an afterthought
  • Power House - Some nice tilework inside by the generator has sadly long gone
  • E Mill - Although it survived the war intact, the interior was remodeled and top floor rebuilt, probably in the 70s
  • Workshops & Offices - These have been modernized and have now been cleared out
Post War Buildings
  • New Silo - fairly bland modern grain silo
  • A,B and C Mills - These mills probably closed around 2000 and have had virtually all their machinery removed, but there's some great peely paint and stuff. Can be accessed from floor 3, between G Mill and the warehouse
  • G Mill - This was constructed within the old ABC Mills around 2005. It was intact on my first visit a year ago but the majority of the machinery has now been removed
  • F Mill - All the machinery is still intact and is slightly more recent then that in E Mill
  • Multipurpose bit - wasn't given a proper name on the plans I found. Contains various different machinery including cookers and hoppers
  • Warehouse - contains lots of circular storage silos for the milled flour
  • Labs and Offices - now cleared out but the labs are still quite nice

The Explore
First visited the building just under a year ago with @jsp77 and prettyvacant. Nearly all the lights were on and decommissioning had only just begun. After hearing that Solent Mills is likely to be demolished I decided to have a solo revisit. The entry point I had used previously had been locked up but it didn't take too long to find an alternative way inside and had my usual sleepless night on the floor of an old office waiting for it to get light. After waking up many times, it was finally light enough to get some photos, once inside you pretty much have access to the whole building. Many of the lights still work and it looks like decommissioning work was completed at the end of the summer. I missed out some of the sections I had visited previously, including the silos, power house and most of the parts which are now in darkness. There is now a fair bit of mould about, which is especially annoying when you grab a door handle and take off a handful of crap. I'm surprised more people haven't visited this place, especially when places like Cottam and Britvic had similar amounts of coverage about their closure. It's a lovely old building with a lot to see and it's not a hard place to get into if you're careful.


_DSC3842 3.jpg


_DSC3837 3.jpg


_DSC3835 3.jpg


_DSC3828 3.jpg

A real shame they stuck a load of cladding over the large art deco silos, the red brickwork and white concrete details was stunning

E Mill
This was the only one of the three roller mills which had windows and full working lights, so I didn't spend much time in the others this time

_DSC3637 3.jpg

E Mill, Seals floor

_DSC3644 3.jpg

E Mill, Seals floor

_DSC3649 3.jpg

E Mill, Sifter floor

_DSC3658 3.jpg

E Mill, Purifier floor

_DSC3664 3.jpg

E Mill, Purifier floor

_DSC3667 3.jpg

E Mill, Spouts floor

_DSC3689 3.jpg

E Mill, Roller floor

_DSC3685 3.jpg

E Mill, Roller floor

_DSC3691 3.jpg

The Roller floor control room in F Mill

1581100000847.png

The G Mill roller floor as it looked in February 2019

_DSC3696 3.jpg

The same view now

Multipurpose block


_DSC3796 3.jpg

Multipurpose block, General view

_DSC3799 3.jpg

Machinery in the multipurpose block

_DSC3811 3.jpg

Hoppers in the multipurpose block

Warehouse

_DSC3823 3.jpg

Warehouse, Top floor

_DSC3818 3.jpg

Warehouse, Sixth floor

_DSC3819 3.jpg

Warehouse, Sixth floor

_DSC3697 3.jpg

Warehouse, general view

_DSC3709 3.jpg

Warehouse, general view

Labs & Offices
It was really frustrating to find these cleared out ,they were filled with equipment when we peered through the windows but appeared to be locked up, I wish we'd tried a bit harder to find a way in now, but they were still nice to see.

_DSC3727 3.jpg

Staff kitchen

_DSC3714 3.jpg

Upper labs

_DSC3717 3.jpg

Lower labs

_DSC3720 3.jpg

Test bakery

_DSC3721 3.jpg

Test bakery
 
Last edited:

Terminal Decline

28DL Regular User
Regular User
ABC Mill
This was a right bugger to get to but I eventually found a way in by chance

_DSC3792 3.jpg

This floor would have housed the roller mills, the wall at the end was constructed when G Mill was built inside this part of the site

_DSC3737 3.jpg


_DSC3754 3.jpg


_DSC3791 3.jpg

A bit of Mather & Platt is compulsory in a building like this

_DSC3751 3.jpg


_DSC3773 3.jpg

The real gem here is the cracking belt manlift - can't be many which survive this well around nowadays

_DSC3744 3.jpg


_DSC3778 3.jpg


_DSC3780 3.jpg


_DSC3787 3.jpg


_DSC3771 3.jpg


_DSC3764 3.jpg


_DSC3767 3.jpg


Thanks for looking
 
Last edited:

xexxa

Xexxa the grey
28DL Full Member
I’d wanted to go but didn’t realise that it’s not as hard as i thought getting in to the port ( I thought it was as bad as trespassing in an airport - I’ve never flown or traveled by boat, shoot me) I’ll be going
 

Terminal Decline

28DL Regular User
Regular User
I’d wanted to go but didn’t realise that it’s not as hard as i thought getting in to the port ( I thought it was as bad as trespassing in an airport - I’ve never flown or traveled by boat, shoot me) I’ll be going
As it's a ferry port there's people walking through all the time, but obviously you wouldn't want to be caught in the wrong place. When I was leaving one of the blokes came out of the hut and yelled "oui" in my direction which made me jump. He continued: "make sure you get some good photos, they'll be knocking it down soon"
 
Last edited:

Brewtal

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Yes mate!!! So good to see an update! This one has been bugging me non stop since I moved back to the desolate north, been craving another look. Still the same way in? I wanted to see the labs so badly after looking at them through the windows on the way up. They all stripped out now?
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Spot on this, cracker of a set. Fantastic report. I love explorers who do the night nap and awake at dawn, big kudos for that alone. Did you answer the guy lol.
 

Terminal Decline

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Still the same way in? I wanted to see the labs so badly after looking at them through the windows on the way up. They all stripped out now?
Different way this time but didn't take too long to find. All the equipment in the labs has gone but they're still quite nice rooms
 
Last edited:

Brewtal

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Different way this time but didn't take too long to find. All the equipment in the labs has gone but they're still quite nice rooms, quite similar to the ones at Longannet
Yeah sorry I read this properly and had a proper look at your pics lol!
 

Similar threads


Top