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British Xylonite/Wardle Storeys/BX plastics/ICI - Abandoned Factory - Brantham - Urbex

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Filmed in September 2011. History Of The British Xylonite Co. Ltd The following was taken from the National Archives Site 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'. Derived from the nitro-cellulose and collodion processes, it was initially used for making domestic articles in substitution for wood, horn, ivory or tortoise shell. Its subsequent development was closely associated with Hackney, being taken up by Daniel Spill, rubber manufacturer, in 1864 and later by the Xylonite Company at Hackney Wick and the 'Ivoride' Works at Homerton High Street. The founders of the British Xylonite Company, Levi Parsons Merriam and his son Charles, established in 1875 a small business to make combs, imitation jewellery etc. next door to the 'Ivoride' Works; the two works merged in 1879. 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 (its products going by the trade name of 'Halex') 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: B.X. Plastics making xylonite and lactoid; Halex Ltd. making finished goods, and Cascelloid Ltd. making toys and bottles at Leicester and Coalville. 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. established jointly with Union Carbide, and including plants at Birmingham, Aycliffe and Grangemouth. Several sales and mergers took place in the 1960s and 1970s, the most significant being the sale of the Brantham and Aycliffe sites in 1966 to British Industrial Plastics, a subsidiary of Turner and Newall Ltd., who were in turn purchased in 1977 by Storey Brothers of Lancaster, formerly a major commercial rival. The Brantham site operated under the name of Wardle Storeys and until recently manufactured limited quantities of xylonite using traditional processes and equipment. The company went into liquidation in January 2007.
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Text Comments (8)
Jack Sainthill (3 years ago)
Is there still anyone else around who worked at the Highams Park plant?
Mikeper94 (6 years ago)
Finally managed to get in there the other day, it was quite something, definitely worth the wait. The front fence is still damaged and accessible, and its also very easy to get onto the site across the river defenses when walking along the riverfront from Brantham.
daleksonacid (6 years ago)
I have been here three times in the last few months and there are signs of people being there. I have seen pikeys trying to get into the live buildings where the transformer is. Be careful if you do go.
WF36 (6 years ago)
@Mikeper94 You can walk straight in, there is no security! :)
Mikeper94 (6 years ago)
@willfinch36 Hi there, really nice video. I'm interested in visiting this factory as I live nearby and I'd like some photos for my art course. How easy did you find it to get in? Was there any security or fencing or could you wander straight in?
WF36 (6 years ago)
@DaviDeXtA A shame indeed - no problem.
DaviDeXtA (6 years ago)
What an absolute shame that this place had to close. I go past it every now and then on the train and it breaks my heart. Thanks for the video.
Cammie010 (7 years ago)
I have a bookmark made by Bakelite Xylonite Limited that was laminated on both sides with BXL , Bexphane polypropylene film. I'll miss you Bakelite Xylonite Limited. :(

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