Drifting through explores
28DL Full Member
Previously Parrs’ Confectionary
Previously Parrs’ Confectionary
“Suck some rock instead of your thumb, tooth decay is better than mental decay“ - the slogan of Parrs that would be quite controversial today.
For many years, the distinctive odour of heated sugar and glucose was a sign of Parrs’ success as the UK’s leading privately-owned manufacturer of gums, jellies and rocks.
The business was founded in 1949 by Jack Lee, his brother, brother-in-law and a friend, all of whom were recently demobbed.
In the 1960’s it pioneered striped rock and soon saw its product in most of Britains resorts.
It exported to Australia and Canada, as well as sending coloured rock to the US for the Kennedy-Nixon election in 1960 and creating a special moon rock for the Apollo missions. HMS Agincourt ordered 500 sticks with the ship’s name in the centre.
In 1981 – the same year Parrs made a commemorative rock for the Royal wedding of Charles and Diana – it was in trouble for some of its raunchier lines.
As well as rock and jelly babies, the factory was turning out aniseed balls, mint imperials and a host of other sweets.
In 1986, rock sales were said to have reached an all-time record, with Parrs hiring 40 extra staff.
Not everyone loved the factory, though. In 1989, some residents behind the factory were claiming compensation after a “deluge of sugar and starch flooded their gardens”.
And in 1995, neighbours were complaining about the sugary smell from the factory. The company retorted that it had been there 30 years, making the same products the same way.
In 1991, with the country in recession, Parrs was spending £1million on expansion.
Annual turnover in 1995 was said to be “well in excess” of £10m and Parrs was producing 200 tonnes of sweets a week, with jellies and gums making up 80 per cent of sales.
In 2001, the company was bought by Danish-owned Toms Confectionery ltd, which was itself bought by the Blackpool-based Tangerine.
But in 2004, director Nigel Lee returned to buy back part of the business, and Parrs Rock & Novelty Company set up at Roundways Industrial Estate in Wallisdown.
But Parrs at Wallisdown closed in 2007, and Tangerine Confectionary closed the Alder Road site in 2013, moving production to Yorkshire and Lancashire – and bringing an end to a Dorset institution.
Before the site closed it was downsized and most of it became a new shopping estate. There is also local rumours that before the place closed there was a fatality that involved a worker and a machine however I could not find evidence of this.
Apologies in advance for the photos, we went to this place unprepared so didnt have the best torches with us and didnt have a good camera too which didnt help as it was a night explore.
After a bit of looking we found an easy access route and proceded though to the site. It definitely a lot smaller now than what it used to be but still a large plot of land to explore.
We first looked around a few of the little warehouses situated at the begining. There wasnt much to see and there wasnt really anything of interest inside but still cool to see.
We then moved on and looked around what seemed to be the main building that was left of the place. It was VERY dusty and I do advise that if you visit this place, DO wear some sort of mask. As you can see in this picture, dust is everywhere.
It was quite surprising that despite how long this place has stood empty there wasnt really any graffiti about.
We entered another area that seemed to be a cold storage area. Around 5 big fridges were in this one bit and another few scattered in other buildings.
After a little while we moved onto another building. It seemed like some parts of the building were from a horror movie and let off a very eary atmosphere.
After another hour or so exploring and looking at the other buildings we then left but just as we were exiting from the access point a car stopped in the middle of the road and then put its blue lights on. Great an unmarked police car. Luckily they were just weirded out at where we had just come from and were more interested in asking if we had seem any youth smashing up cars.
Sorry its a short rushed report but thought id share it anyway as although its oretty empty its stil a nice place to see.
Heres a few more pictures from our explore, again, apologies for the bad quality.