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Report - - Shoreham Cement Works, West Sussex- August 2020 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Shoreham Cement Works, West Sussex- August 2020


Tom Ellis

TJExplore
28DL Full Member
History
The site of the Cement works has been used in limestone and cement production all the way since the 18th century and was the first location in the UK to use Vickers Armsrong Kilns.

The earliest recording, I could find, of the quarry's existence was from 1725 where it was only a small scale chalk pit but it likely existed even before then. Around 1760, the demand for limestone increased following the rise of the industrial revolution and thus the quarry site was then utilized for the excavation and processing of lime using kilns. The site in this state can be seen on the Yeakell and Gardner map of 1780.

During the 1800s, the demand for cement as a construction material increased and thus so did the demand for lime. The increased supply lines to the site, including: boats from the river adur and the newly installed steyning train line from Shoreham to Horsham in 1861, meant the site could flourish.

In 1882 the site was owned by Beeding Cement Co following the company's formation. The site was then later bought out by Lewis and Co in 1895 to then finally be overtaken by the Sussex Portland Cement company in 1897. This was then followed by a huge redevelopment and expansion.

The redevelopment utilized the latest technologies from across the world and was extremely successful, increasing production of cement from 5,200 tons in 1897 to 41,600 a year by 1902. Two stores were also erected and a stream crane was also installed to offload and load cement onto the railway carriages. This enabled 260 tons to be loaded per hour. This allowed the site to keep up and meet the demand that WW1 brought in building supplies.

867583

Cement works after the 1900 redevelopment on the the west side of the road (1902). The building as we know it today didn't exist till the 1950 redevelopment.


The site continued to operate at this rate until the 29th of September 1940 at 2.55am. Where WW2 brought an estimated group of 4 German bombers that attacked the site with 16 bombs. 4 bombs fell within factory grounds, 2 of which detonated. 6 hit the Steyning line where 4 of which exploded, 1 hit the Steyning road and failed to detonate and the last 5 landed on surrounded farmland.

Incredibly, this totaled in zero casualties. The railway was destroyed, trains were derailed and the loading shed was demolished. Electric cables and telephone wires had also been heavily effected. However, non of the factory's machinery was damaged and thus with the unexploded bombs taken care of and repairs completed the site was back and fully operational shortly after.

From 1948 to 1950 the entire site was completely rebuilt on the east side of the road to the buildings that remain to this day under the name of "Blue Circle". Like during the 1900s development, this redevelopment utilized the latest technologies from across the world, meaning it was the first factory in the UK to use the latest Vickers Armstrong Kilns. This technology came straight from ww2 in the tank designs that Vickers Armstrong had developed for the war and so was state of the art. These kilns allowed work production to increase up to 550 tonnes per day and with the incredibly established transport links it made that output of resources completely feasible, this did however cause alot of pollution and thus trees and surrounding wildlife would often be covered in a layer of dust giving it all a grayish tint. A conveyor belt system was also established that joined the two sides of the site together over the road with two towers to support it. These were all cladded down in asbestos and thus has since been taken down but the connections to the buildings can still be seen to this day.
867584
867580


One of the original kilns from the 1900 redevelopment remained until 1967. Where it was found to be too expensive to run for its efficiency.
867576

The plant in 1982.

The kilns were converted to filter cake feed in 1983 with a filter press, this limited production heavily.
After achieving a production rate of 250,000 tons of cement a year at its best at a normal rate of over 144 tonnes of cement per week. The works finally closed down in 1991 due to new technology taking over the old, making the Vickers Armstrong kilns no longer efficient enough in the current day climate, especially after the 1983 changes.

After Closing the Blue Cement Group sold the land to the Hargreaves Group who then leased the land to a bunch of smaller companies. One of these companies being Dudman Group ltd who, as of 2016, own the 480000 square metre site as of an option given to them by Hargreaves.
In 2018 Cambridge & Counties Bank provided an initial five-year loan to the Dudman Group to enable them to redevelop the land. Despite many ideas and plans, such a redevelopment and not yet gone ahead and doesn't look like it will anytime soon.

The buildings remain left completely abandoned however the land surrounding is used as a storage and light industrial site by Dudman.

867585

The site today (2020)

The Explore
Ever since moving into the local area 6 years ago, I have always been fascinated by this building as I've always seen in passing on my journeys to Brighton and my old school bus even used to be stored here. However, I used to really be worried about security whilst urbexing and as this place always has on site workers so I started to see it as that place that I'll eventually do one day but not now. Despite this, my worry of security dwindled due to previous exploring and eventually...

Well that day finally came, My good friend @jxck.urbex and I decided to spontaneously make a plan to do it the next morning.
And so we did, I set off at 2:15 am and spent 3 hours of walking to get there in time to meet Jack by the houses that were originally built for the workers at 5:30am. Unfortunately, the second we met a security drove past and pulled into the entrance of the Cement Works.
Anxiety and adrenaline pumping, we programmed into the mindset that we had already come so far and that we couldn't let this one car stop us. Thus we continued into the site.

867586
867589


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The workers started arriving from 6:00- 6:30 so we had to carefully make our way through the quarry, running in between each and every cover point whilst still trying to as quiet as possible. We eventually got into the rear most building infested with an platoon of security pigeons. Luckily, they didn't see us and we continued forward through the conveyor belt shaft.
867590


We then reached the next building and had to make our way from the top floor to the ground floor without workers seeing us through the gaping hole in the side of the wall by their cement dumping route.


We then continued through the next conveyor belt shaft and before we knew it we happened upon the gargantuan hall that housed the two monolithic 350ft long and 10ft wide Vickers Armstong Kilns.

Unfortunately

we didn't get to go to the ground floor of this building or even check out the grinder mills or clinker room due to a sketchy ass ladder. But what we did see was incredible,
Enjoy the photos.
867592
867593

The Vickers Armstong Kilns.

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867599
867591

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867602
867603



Hope you enjoyed the report :)
Any constructive criticism is much appreciated
 

Attachments

Last edited:

haych

Keep it real
28DL Full Member
Not really my sort of buildings to visit, but really like the look of this one, great report and snaps!
Really enjoyed the old flicks and the history as well!
 

Oliphoto

28DL Member
28DL Member
History
The site of the Cement works has been used in limestone and cement production all the way since the 18th century and was the first location in the UK to use Vickers Armsrong Kilns.

The earliest recording, I could find, of the quarry's existence was from 1725 where it was only a small scale chalk pit but it likely existed even before then. Around 1760, the demand for limestone increased following the rise of the industrial revolution and thus the quarry site was then utilized for the excavation and processing of lime using kilns. The site in this state can be seen on the Yeakell and Gardner map of 1780.

During the 1800s, the demand for cement as a construction material increased and thus so did the demand for lime. The increased supply lines to the site, including: boats from the river adur and the newly installed steyning train line from Shoreham to Horsham in 1861, meant the site could flourish.

In 1882 the site was owned by Beeding Cement Co following the company's formation. The site was then later bought out by Lewis and Co in 1895 to then finally be overtaken by the Sussex Portland Cement company in 1897. This was then followed by a huge redevelopment and expansion.

The redevelopment utilized the latest technologies from across the world and was extremely successful, increasing production of cement from 5,200 tons in 1897 to 41,600 a year by 1902. Two stores were also erected and a stream crane was also installed to offload and load cement onto the railway carriages. This enabled 260 tons to be loaded per hour. This allowed the site to keep up and meet the demand that WW1 brought in building supplies.

View attachment 867583
Cement works after the 1900 redevelopment on the the west side of the road (1902). The building as we know it today didn't exist till the 1950 redevelopment.


The site continued to operate at this rate until the 29th of September 1940 at 2.55am. Where WW2 brought an estimated group of 4 German bombers that attacked the site with 16 bombs. 4 bombs fell within factory grounds, 2 of which detonated. 6 hit the Steyning line where 4 of which exploded, 1 hit the Steyning road and failed to detonate and the last 5 landed on surrounded farmland.

Incredibly, this totaled in zero casualties. The railway was destroyed, trains were derailed and the loading shed was demolished. Electric cables and telephone wires had also been heavily effected. However, non of the factory's machinery was damaged and thus with the unexploded bombs taken care of and repairs completed the site was back and fully operational shortly after.

From 1948 to 1950 the entire site was completely rebuilt on the east side of the road to the buildings that remain to this day under the name of "Blue Circle". Like during the 1900s development, this redevelopment utilized the latest technologies from across the world, meaning it was the first factory in the UK to use the latest Vickers Armstrong Kilns. This technology came straight from ww2 in the tank designs that Vickers Armstrong had developed for the war and so was state of the art. These kilns allowed work production to increase up to 550 tonnes per day and with the incredibly established transport links it made that output of resources completely feasible, this did however cause alot of pollution and thus trees and surrounding wildlife would often be covered in a layer of dust giving it all a grayish tint. A conveyor belt system was also established that joined the two sides of the site together over the road with two towers to support it. These were all cladded down in asbestos and thus has since been taken down but the connections to the buildings can still be seen to this day.
View attachment 867584View attachment 867580

One of the original kilns from the 1900 redevelopment remained until 1967. Where it was found to be too expensive to run for its efficiency.
View attachment 867576
The plant in 1982.

The kilns were converted to filter cake feed in 1983 with a filter press, this limited production heavily.
After achieving a production rate of 250,000 tons of cement a year at its best at a normal rate of over 144 tonnes of cement per week. The works finally closed down in 1991 due to new technology taking over the old, making the Vickers Armstrong kilns no longer efficient enough in the current day climate, especially after the 1983 changes.

After Closing the Blue Cement Group sold the land to the Hargreaves Group who then leased the land to a bunch of smaller companies. One of these companies being Dudman Group ltd who, as of 2016, own the 480000 square metre site as of an option given to them by Hargreaves.
In 2018 Cambridge & Counties Bank provided an initial five-year loan to the Dudman Group to enable them to redevelop the land. Despite many ideas and plans, such a redevelopment and not yet gone ahead and doesn't look like it will anytime soon.

The buildings remain left completely abandoned however the land surrounding is used as a storage and light industrial site by Dudman.

View attachment 867585
The site today (2020)

The Explore
Ever since moving into the local area 6 years ago, I have always been fascinated by this building as I've always seen in passing on my journeys to Brighton and my old school bus even used to be stored here. However, I used to really be worried about security whilst urbexing and as this place always has on site workers so I started to see it as that place that I'll eventually do one day but not now. Despite this, my worry of security dwindled due to previous exploring and eventually...

Well that day finally came, My good friend @jxck.urbex and I decided to spontaneously make a plan to do it the next morning.
And so we did, I set off at 2:15 am and spent 3 hours of walking to get there in time to meet Jack by the houses that were originally built for the workers at 5:30am. Unfortunately, the second we met a security drove past and pulled into the entrance of the Cement Works.
Anxiety and adrenaline pumping, we programmed into the mindset that we had already come so far and that we couldn't let this one car stop us. Thus we continued into the site.

View attachment 867586View attachment 867589

View attachment 867587

View attachment 867588




The workers started arriving from 6:00- 6:30 so we had to carefully make our way through the quarry, running in between each and every cover point whilst still trying to as quiet as possible. We eventually got into the rear most building infested with an platoon of security pigeons. Luckily, they didn't see us and we continued forward through the conveyor belt shaft.
View attachment 867590

We then reached the next building and had to make our way from the top floor to the ground floor without workers seeing us through the gaping hole in the side of the wall by their cement dumping route.


We then continued through the next conveyor belt shaft and before we knew it we happened upon the gargantuan hall that housed the two monolithic 350ft long and 10ft wide Vickers Armstong Kilns.

Unfortunately

we didn't get to go to the ground floor of this building or even check out the grinder mills or clinker room due to a sketchy ass ladder. But what we did see was incredible,
Enjoy the photos.
View attachment 867592View attachment 867593
The Vickers Armstong Kilns.

View attachment 867595View attachment 867597
View attachment 867596View attachment 867598View attachment 867599View attachment 867591
View attachment 867600View attachment 867601View attachment 867602View attachment 867603


Hope you enjoyed the report :)
Any constructive criticism is much appreciated
Awesome post and the photos are great! I’m a photographer and I’ve always wanted to shoot at the cement works.. what camera did you shoot with out of interest?
 

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