Report - - Wardle Storeys, Brantham - August 2014 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Wardle Storeys, Brantham - August 2014


A life backwards
28DL Full Member

The British Xylonite Company could justifiably claim to be the first British firm successfully to manufacture a plastic material in commercial quantities. Xylonite, better known by its American equivalent of 'celluloid', was invented by Alexander Parkes and first displayed in 1862 under the name of 'Parkesine'. The original site being small and unsuitable, it was decided in 1887 to buy land at Brantham on the Suffolk bank of the River Stour and erect a purpose-built factory; finished goods continued to be made at Homerton until 1897 when a new factory was built at Hale End near Walthamstow which also housed the head office. Other types of plastics were introduced, and in 1938 the British Xylonite Company became a holding company with three subsidiaries. The Distillers Company took a half-interest in 1939 and bought the entire Group in 1961, but in 1963 it formed part of a new grouping called Bakelite Xylonite Ltd. Several sales and mergers took place in the 1960s and 1970s. The majority of the site was closed in 2007.


Whilst most of the site has been slowly cleared (a building close to the railway was demolished late July according to some local lads), some buildings remain in use situated mainly towards the northern part of the site. The area is split between three firms AOC (distribution), Procomm Site Services (portacabin specialists) and ITW Imagedata (card, ribbon and general plastics). Through the narrow tunnel under the railway, the carnage remains. However, there are fewer buildings here now from my trip of four years ago, thanks to the work of the locals.

The explore

It has been thirty years past since my first exploring experience at Ilford Films in Brentwood, Essex. With frequent trips (literally across the road), i quickly gained a taste and thirst for intriguing buildings, fascinating pipe work and the heady aroma of a cocktail of chemicals and freshly crushed concrete. Memories stay with you and so when a chemicals plant presents itself, nostalgia is ready to enjoy the mooch too :).

A last minute explore again whilst staying down in Essex with unfortunately only my point and shoot for company. Hope you enjoy anyway:


1. A good dose of liquid tar. The derelict buildings stand opposite the live site, complete with continuous machine alarms and fragrant smells.


2. The Coating Plant. Judging from the copious quantity of 'specialized' reading matter :eek:, the block closed around 2004.


3. Top floor of the Coating Plant.


4. Loading safety doors for chemicals.




6. Most of the building was pitch black, which made for interesting views towards some natural light.


7. Chemical shower.


8. The floor was filled with these long narrow corridors with a huge complexity of rollers and pipework located behind pairs of glass doors. It is hard to do the place justice with photographs.




10. That's a hell of a lot of leavers ICI... :confused.


11. Flick and refreshment; a perfect mooching break.


12. 'Rig Room'.


13. Ancillary buildings.






16. On to the other side of the railway. There are a few things still worth pointing a camera at, but perhaps not this :D.








20. That chicken soup did not agree with me and now i need a.. !

Thanks for looking :thumb
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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thanks for the pics, not actually been on this bit of the site. For some reason I was put off as it looked Live still!

Btw Wardle Storeys are no longer on the site, the other live company is ITW Imagedata.

I thought these buildings were in fact ICI Imagdata's old place, perhaps someone will correct me!
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28DL Regular User
Regular User
Thanks for this i also didnt realise there was more to this place i explored the buildings beyond the railway which as you say is in carnage may have a trip back here looks very interesting.


A life backwards
28DL Full Member
Thanks guys, certainly a lot more to enjoy here :)
The Finishing Plant next door to the Coating Plant along with some other less significant buildings are also abandoned, but sealed tight.


A life backwards
28DL Full Member
Thanks for the pics, not actually been on this bit of the site. For some reason I was put off as it looked Live still!

Btw Wardle Storeys are no longer on the site, the other live company is ITW Imagedata.

I thought these buildings were in fact ICI Imagdata's old place, perhaps someone will correct me!

Thanks mate :)

Yes, the site is owned by ITW Imagedata (i remembered only the word 'image' on a sign at the entrance, which was not very helpful :rolleyes:).
There was also reference to ICI and Bexford Plastics within the buildings.

I like to be as accurate as possible with these things, can mods amend the title accordingly please?


Got Epic?
Staff member
Good to see a little more. Id be interested to know if the ICI bit was ever owned by BX. I think not as the Bexford branded stuff i found in there was quite old, certainly as old as the current buildings on the ICI site.

The Lone Shadow

Industrial Fanatic!
28DL Full Member
Looks like a quality mooch with plenty to see.
Really like those buttons and the pipes on that rack, pretty good selfie too.



28DL Regular User
Regular User
Bloody hell, wasn't expecting this when I saw the title.... Looks great in there, loving those huge tar tanks and looks like there's heaps of other bits worth seeing :thumb