Report - - Turner Brothers Asbestos 24/01/2010 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Turner Brothers Asbestos 24/01/2010


Official Smartarse
Regular User
Visited with AndyJ

The business was founded in 1871 in Rochdale as Turner Brothers by John, Robert and Samuel Turner to manufacture cotton cloth based packaging.

In 1879 it became the first business in the United Kingdom to weave asbestos cloth with power-driven machinery, and the company changed its name to Turner Brothers Asbestos Company.

At it's height, it was the largest asbestos manufacturer in the world, with outpu tin 1970 being 2,250,000 yards of asbestos cloth and 5,500,000 miles of asbestos yarn, it was a constituent of the FT30 index of leading companies on the London Stock Exchange.

It was also the place where the first officially recognised victim of asbestosis worked (Nellie Kershaw), but the company refused to accept responsibility, quoting it would "create a precedent".

It was bought out by Federal Mogul in 1998 which got into financial trouble and filed for chapter 11 as a result of asbestos claims and went into administration in 2001, leaving a pension fund deficit of £400 million.

The site has been termed by the local councilors as "Rochdale's Chernobyl".

Finding what we did was a complete accident really. We were very early for a meet somewhere else, and went to see an empty factory.

As I don't want this to ever leave this part of the site, I'm posting final access details (you'll understand why), but to get to that, you've got to navigate round the hundreds of cameras on site, with 24hr onsite security.

So, we wander up, find access, test security a little, then tried several ways unsuccessfully to gain access. Then we happen upon an open door. yes, an open door.

Imagine this, we're at an old asbestos factory that we think is long since closed, open a door, and this.



I shit myself. Strands of this stuff are flying everywhere, and in my mind, I just got asbestosis.

Quick phone call to Spark, ask him to google TBA, and see what he could come up with.

So we donned P3 masks, and in we went. Into the extraction galleries, where all the filters are for the dust extractors lead to. It looked like the swamps in south america, with insulation hanging from the rafters. Very surreal.


Then we head out of the gallery, and come across a sign. "TBA textiles". Phone Spark again, and we find out that they make heat insulating fabrics. And in fact, that stuff is fibreglass. My lungs never felt better :)


Turns out, we had wandered into a live factory, that makes insulating fabrics, with more looms than you can shake a stick at. We found a stick, and shook it at them, but there were just too many.

So, on with the pics now.






Heat treating vertical furnaces


And the best till last.

Working Shuttle loom, not just working, but using stainless steel wire as the warp and fibreglass yarn as the weft. I nearly came in my pants. It was only looking at AndyJ that saved my underwear.




and in the store room upstairs

Then we come to the reason I dn't want this leavin here.

Taken through a locked door. Turns out that they make body armour fo the police. Bullet proof vests, stab proof vests and all kinds of other lovely stuff. They even had a ballistics testing cell, but no matter how muc w looked, we couldn't find a way in. Gutted.