Tag: Industrial

By Liam Heatherson

Bata Shoe Factory & Estate

The Bata shoe factory and estate was built in East Tilbury the 1930s by Czecheslovakian entrepeneur Thomas Bata. It was modelled on the original factory in Zlín, now in the Czech Republic, and hence survives as an unusual piece of Czech industrial Modernism here in Essex. The factory was converted into the Thames Industrial Park…

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By Joe Mander

Wells Firework Factory

Now an overgrown brownfield site, this was once the factory for one of the leading fireworks companies in the whole of the UK. Joseph Wells was the founder of ‘Wells Fireworks’ and established it in Dartford in 1837. He learnt his trade as an explosive lighter man, working along the Thames. The company rapidly became…

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By Joe Mander

Maidstone Library Tower

In April 1959 proposals were revealed for a new County Library premises, which had been approved by the council but needed funding of £144,000 plus almost £20,000 for archives. Meeting notes from the time reveal that signification improvements in concrete structures since the Second World War meant that pre-cast concrete buildings were becoming more common,…

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By Joe Mander

Southern Water Emergency Control Centre

Built during the Cold War, in the late 1980’s, this was one of three bomb-proof control centres constructed by Southern Water, although the only one in Kent. Should World War 3 have happened, the water for the South-East could have been controlled from here, although once construction was completed this bunker was never actually kitted…

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By Liam Heatherson

Millennium Mills

Many comprehensive histories of the mills have been written online, so here is just a very brief overview of their past, present, and future. The grain mills at Silvertown are perhaps one of the last substantial remnants of London’s docklands and a symbol of their decline in the light of the area’s very contrasting redevelopment….

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By Liam Heatherson

Coryton Oil Refinery

The refinery c.2014 (BTP) and 2016 (Slayaaaa) prior to the demolition of its many towers The refinery was built over Coryton village (Kynochtown) and Kynoch’s munitions factory (the site of which still remains just north of the refinery – see here). The explosives factory operated from the late 1890s up until 1919 serving through the…

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By Joe Mander

Cooling Radio Station

As the world entered the 20th Century, technology was advancing at a rapid rate and communication between the UK and America was already wired with a transatlantic submarine cable. Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi was an expert in radio transmission and developed the first system which allowed wireless transmission from Cornwall to New Foundland, US. Following…

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By Joe Mander

Deepdene Railway Control Centre

During World War 2, the Deepdene hotel and grounds were taken over by Southern Railway who had chosen the site to be its emergency wartime headquarters. Making use of some existing caves, which had been there for some 300 years, building work started to turn the chalk tunnels into a bomb-proof underground control centre. In…

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