Report - The Triplex Safety Glass Co. Ltd., Birmingham - March 2017

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( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
The Triplex Safety Glass Co. Ltd. - Birmingham.

Dweeb this is less than a mile from your house, no excuses ;)


I seem to be in the business of tying up loose ends at the moment - I've been passing this place on the train for a number of years now, but I've always found it to be one of those that makes you think 'is it / isn't it?' On the one hand peeley paint and enamel shades are clearly visible on the upper floors, but on the other hand it's located in the compound of a very active glass works, and staff can regularly be seen loitering around outside the building. Could the ground floor still be in use maybe..? As it happens, when I actually bothered to check satellite images and it became clear that the roof is in such an appalling state there's no way it's anything other than derelict. Sold!


The factory as it appeared in the 1920s. We explored the building in the foreground with the crazy roof (which is still extant), as well as the building on the right near the chimney.

Some history:

1912 Public company incorporated. The need for the specialist production of safety glass led to the formation of the Triplex Safety Glass Company to operate in Britain certain French patents for laminated glass. The manufacturing process involved fixing Xylonite or some other transparent material between 2 sheets of glass, thus triplex glass.

1917 Triplex Safety Glass Co advertised a range of products.

1927 Purchased a new factory at King's Norton, Birmingham with the support of a loan from GKN.

c.1927 Pilkington developed a process for making thin plate glass suitable for Triplex and became an important supplier to Triplex

1929 Pilkington and the Triplex Safety Glass Co formed a joint company, called Triplex Imperial, to build a works at Eccleston, St. Helens, to produce laminated glass; the factory had Pilkington management with support from Triplex.

1930 Triplex glass was fitted as standard on Austin cars

1931 All contract work was transferred from the Willesden factory to Kings Norton

WW2 Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito and other aircraft, eyepieces for gas masks, etc. Made plastic components at Kings Norton and in one of the 2 factories at Willesden.

Curved glass was introduced as a result of inventions by St. Gobain and by Libbey Owens Ford. Triplex developed "zoned" windscreens, giving a zone of relatively clear vision in case of breakage, following similar developments on the Continent. Also developed heated rear windows for cars.

1965 Pilkington owned more than 50 per cent of Triplex which then became a subsidiary of Pilkington.

1968 Open new R&D centre in King's Norton, Birmingham.

1970 Aircraft activities were organised in a separate division; orders had been received for the Airbus and from the Japanese aircraft industry and production orders were expected for Concorde; the engineering companies had achieved highest ever turnover, including a major order for a conveyor for British Leyland; this helped to offset the poor results of the Safety Glass company.

1972 Pilkington acquired the remaining shares in the company.

The factory no longer falls under the Pilkington brand but rather that of the ubiquitous GKN - I believe aerospace glass continues to be made on site. I suspect that this building fell out of use with the collapse of MG Rover in 2005 (when Pilkingtons downsized its operations), although closure quite possibly predates this.

It also became apparent that a couple more buildings along the railway side are also derelict, and indeed have been for quite some time. It was these that we accessed first, and initially things were looking good - very dated, if perhaps a little trashed for my liking. In the larger building, however, the lack of any effective roof means that the manufacturing floor itself is so fucked as to be beyond interest. I must admit I was a little disappointed when we first entered - no clocks or enamels in sight! Fortunately things soon began to perk up, particularly when we ventured upstairs - I personally left extremely satisfied with what I had seen, though I'm not sure the same can be said for my companions!

I'll start upstairs:

















Note the crates of windscreens, still padded with straw






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( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
Downstairs to that shitsack of a factory floor



A slightly more modern extension next door to this held a lot more interest however, having been used to store the rubberised pallets needed to stack and transport finished windscreens



Should date it for you


Moving on to the building we entered first, still nicely dated if slightly more modern






Enamel epic



Big love to @AndyK, @SpiderMonkey, @Polo and @Salmon <3​
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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Jul 21, 2014
I personally left extremely satisfied with what I had seen, though I'm not sure the same can be said for my companions!
Haha, I probably came across as though I was bored seeing as I wasn't taking photos but I did enjoy this place ;)

Great report and a nice set of photos as always! Oh, and I like that Pot Noodle one


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
I found the entrance to this place however wasn't one hundred percent about going in during the day, Dont enter from the front where you see the big tower, You will be greeted by a security guard who says no entry beyond this point, instead park up on the railway station and find your entry from there (Fences are fairly easy to hop), Something for OP to add as i can see alot of people getting caught by working cctv from the front gates.

Was willing to checkout this place however seemed amazing, Instead i explored a place closeby and this was definitely one i was watching.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jul 27, 2016
Generally people don't mention how they get in as it usually means access will be closed fairly quickly.....
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