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Report - - Rover Longbridge Update - Cabs Demolition, Canteen, Model Room and the Kremlin - Jan 2020 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Rover Longbridge Update - Cabs Demolition, Canteen, Model Room and the Kremlin - Jan 2020


Speed

Got Epic?
Regular User
Just thought some people might appreciate an update on Longbridge. Had a few visits over the last few weeks with @dweeb and @Dave W and well, maybe we have something report worthy maybe we dont! Theres not much else about right now i can post!

Towards the end of last year St Mowden announced they were going to start demolition of the Cabs now C***** MG have vacated. Generally im pretty nonchalant about Longbridge as quite frankly i hate the place, its amazing and every time i go i have a decent explore BUT even from day one in 2006 i always go away wondering what could have been 'if only we had visited a bit earlier' or 'put a bit more effort in last time' This time was no different! Must say tho after bit of badgering by Dave to make the effort i quite enjoyed it. Revisited a few old skool gems, Saw some bits id never been in before, saw some bits no ones been in before (or at least haven't posted up anywhere!) Nothing special just another chapter in the 15 year saga!

Starting in Cab 1 theres not a whole lot left on the shop floor. I think its been like this a few years now but it was interesting to see it as such a vast empty space none the less.

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This part is supposed to be kept in the St Mowden masterplan but i cant for the life of me work out why.

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Not much left to see here

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Just toilets!

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and the odd sign

We did make a bit of an effort to go over to Cab 2 and see what was happening and to be fair there wasn't a lot left.. that said Cab 2 never had much in there anyway, it was refurbished and extended in 1998 to build the new 'r50' mini but as that ended up at Cowley the space was never used for anything other than storage. Even today theres floors and floors of unpainted plasterboard rooms that have been sitting there 20 years awaiting BMW to finish them off, a fairly surreal thing for the longbridge geek to see if a little too boring to take a photo of! As you can see No. 3 paintshop had been leveled already.


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We headed down into the bowels of Cab 1, this was alot more 'Longbridge' for me. Heading down the stairs of an apprently derelict building about to be levelled by the bulldozer and you find yourself in a flooded toilet block still with running water and half the lights on! also quite sureal! Theres quite a big area here which i think was used by the maintenence teams as workshops. On one wall we found a 2005 Rover year planner with all the days crossed off up until Friday April 8th. This was the day everyone got told not to come to work the next week and is arguably the day the british owned car industry finally succombed. Dweeb got a bit too excited!

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From here you can access the Cab 1 tunnels. When the Cabs were built trimmed car bodies and powertrain components like engines and axles came up this tunnel to the Cab from the bodyshops in Westworks, paint shop and trim halls in Trentham Southworks and powertrain machine shops in Northworks. I found this photo from 2006 when there were still Rover 75 shells hanging, by then in bare metal as painting of the cars now took place in the paintshop between cabs 1 and 2. The shells may have gone but the water had not!

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As you go down the tunnel it gradually widens as more offshoots join. Eventually you end up in an external conveyor that once dropped down into Trentham 'No. 2' paintshop but is now just a boarded over stub sticking out of the hillside near new blocks of flats..

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Next up what we actually went for, I had been wondering for a while what was going on with 'The Kremlin' This was the factory's main 'admin block' built in the 1950s shortly after Cab 1 it had always been off limits in the past as Chinky MG still used it for something or other. Turns out they moved out in 2016. Now, i wasn't really sure what to expect. Part of me thought totally modernised and stripped, part of me thought cellars full of old model cars and Herbert Austins old slippers. In the end i think somewhere in the middle might be right..

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The main entrance was none too promising..

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The rest of the top floor was mainly wooden paneled rooms. Meeting rooms and offices, board room etc. Nicer than the photos would suggest really but still fairly empty.

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Wu and Wang woz ere

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I wondered if this one was the top managers office. Lovely toilet with crazy Formica hiding away under the paint...

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Maybe my favorite part of all was this amazing 1950s vitrolite kitchen. Cant really believe they were still using this, it the kind of thing you see in museums!

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Next you can go up to a bricked off aerial walkway that used to connect with the big design office that we majorly failed in exploring at all before it was demolished around 2009/10... Or down into yet another tunnel come walkway that connected with the general office block that fronted Licky road.. (Again that we failed to get photos of before it was demolished around the same time..) The rest of the ground floor come basement was sparse and more modernised than the nicely paneled rooms, down here appeared to have been offices for less important people although there was an old dark room hidden away in one corner.

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At least the boiler room had some nice signs.. The model room can come next!
 
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Seffy

SWC | Bally up!
Regular User
Never did actually see this place, but always nice to have updates. Security sounds... interesting?
 

Speed

Got Epic?
Regular User
So yeh, quite how my shit half arsed reports end up over 30 photos i dont know but heres the rest. Firstly the Model Room situated behind the Kremlin and joined with another link type corridor. This is where they made clay models of all the cars they designed.. Bit empty again but still kind of cool for the nerds. Interestingly it was air conditioned. Does clay melt??

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Liked this drawing display board down one wall.. I think the MG sign is Chinese as they used this area after Rovers demise too.

The last bit i have for you is the 'New Cab Diner' an 80/90s as fuck canteen building i dont think anyone has done before. The building appeared to have been much bigger at one time, maybe double the size, maybe a lot bigger i dont know. The area it used to extend into next to Cab 1 was where they half built the R50 bodystores for the new mini and then dismantled it again once BMW pulled the plug. Im wondering if the building was modified to make room for that or if its just coincidence.

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Thats it for now.. Belive it or not i think theres still more to come so maybe this place might make 20 years..
 
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dweeb

Super Moderator
Regular User
Aye even though I saw much of it in it's prime I still have regrets and never saw it all even though I was spending a night every week in there in '06. It was nice to see the last of it before the rest of it is turned into the den of mediocrity that is present day Longbridge...
 

raisinwing

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nice update mate, I really need to get down and see a bit of this. Even though I've missed basically all of everything else here it would be good to at least see something aside from the tunnels.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nice update. Your "shit arse report" as you call it, is cracking and well explained. Not shit at all. Not even close. I liked the running commentary,the narrative used, and the great photos. Cheers for a great report.
 

Session9

A life backwards
28DL Full Member
Very interesting. I keep thinking of that day Blair and Brown walked through Birmingham after the collapse, seems an age away now.
 

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