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Thread: Hepworth Refractories, Loxley, South Yorkshire, June, 2020

  1. #1
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    Default Hepworth Refractories, Loxley, South Yorkshire, June, 2020


    1. The History
    The site, known as Storr’s Bridge Works, was last occupied by Hepworth Refractories, a former brick factory located, in the Loxley valley, north-east of Sheffield. It also home to Carblox in the 70s, part of the Marshalls group, who made carbon blocks of different sizes for steel furnaces.

    The site has been an area for industry since the 17th century. Initially home to Loxley Steel works, the Green Wheel Steel works and two rolling mills – the Green Wheel and Olive rolling mills, the valley was totally decimated by the Great Flood of 1864. Now only the mill pond areas remain. The area has been a source of ganister (a type of sandstone which was prevalent in the Loxley area) since Victorian times. It was a key material in the manufacture of ‘hollow refractories’ - bricks that were used to line the walls of furnaces in the production of steel. Mining and the production of refractory bricks began in the late 1800s. In the 1930s there were a total of three firms in the Loxley Valley (Dysons, Thomas Marshall’s and Thomas Wragg and Sons) producing hollow refractories and, between them, they supplied 95% of all the hollow refractories produced in Great Britain.

    When war broke out in 1939, the industry became vital to the war effort, and if the Germans had bombed the Loxley Valley successfully, the war would have been over very quickly. As a consequence, there was a gun site on Wood Lane, Stannington, which shot down several Luftwaffe planes during the Sheffield Blitz.

    View of the River Loxley at Storrs Bridge Works in the 1960s:

    River Loxley at Storrs Bridge Works, Loxley nr Sheffield (1960s).

    Hepworth’s closed in the 1990s and the site fell into abandonment. However, in 2006 the site was bought by Bovis Homes with a view to building 500 new homes on the site. That was then defeated by local opposition, who objected on the grounds that the local area’s infrastructure could not support this level of development. During this period, Bovis beefed up the security on the site with a solar-powered CCTV and a speaker system along with a resident guard. In 2018 URBED were appointed by landowners Patrick Properties Ltd to help prepare a scheme that is “not a bog-standard housing development” as this is more likely to get past Sheffield City Councils planning requirements.

    2. The Explore
    A post-first lock down revisit. A massive industrial behemoth of the Loxley river five or six miles north west of Sheffield that often gets overlooked by a lot of explorers. The series of factories are trashed and derped but still fascinating in a derpy kind of way. Long gone are the live secca while Bovis Housing had an interest in the site. Hence currently it’s an easy in and there’s the added bonus of a number of nice pieces of graff that have appeared. The weather was nice, and I think I managed to get a better set of pictures than I did first time around.

    3. The Pictures

    Let’s start off with the locker rooms at the far north-west:

    Loxley 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr



    Loxley 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Let’s move on the main Hepworth factories. This is where all the best graff is and this old chimney:

    img6137 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6138 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6126 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6127 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6134 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some lovely Brayk pieces:

    img6119 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6123 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6135 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    New MARRS piece, loving the DD and Mutley vibe here:

    img6117 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6124 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6121 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6125 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Across the way in this aircraft-hanger like building full of broken up rubble:

    img6133 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6131 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Finally, it’s on a little way down river to the kiln’s part:

    img6161 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6156 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6155 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6149 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6153 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More MARRS:

    img6157 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6158 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6159 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6160 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6162 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6164 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6165 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6167 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6168 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6169 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6170 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6171 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6172 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6175 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img6176 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 23 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Loxley 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    There’s even an old WWII Air-raid shelter here:

    Loxley 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And finally – the reason why all of this is here in the first place…the River Loxley:

    img6181 by HughieDW, on Flickr
    Last edited by HughieD; 9th Nov 20 at 23:54.

  2. Thanks given by: banshee, FunkyMuffin, Hugh Jorgan, krela, Mearing, One eyed Spaniel, the_gadge, verdigris
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  4. #2
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    Love that, cheers Hugh

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    I can only imagine the activity that went on in those buildings. Especially in the "hangar" type building.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Great set of pics, gotta love a bit of coloquix

  9. Thanks given by: HughieD
  10. #5
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    Great stuff, liking the Dick Dastardly & Mutley piece. I've explored the kiln buildings and sheds at Loxley, but the locker rooms look worth a poke about as well. :)

  11. Thanks given by: HughieD
  12. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfism View Post
    Great stuff, liking the Dick Dastardly & Mutley piece. I've explored the kiln buildings and sheds at Loxley, but the locker rooms look worth a poke about as well. :)
    Me too mate. Shame it's been painted over now ...

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