ICI, Dulux, AkzoNobel – Slough – June 2018

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mockney reject

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The history

Way back in 1919 not long after the end of the First World War a long running firm of varnish makers called Naylor Brothers decided to diversify into paint production and moved out of central London to set up a factory in Slough on a new 30 acre site.

At around this time, Nobel Chemical Finishes, in Stowmarket were working on a new range of Du Pont formulation paints for the growing motor industry, They also needed bigger premises and help with their new products. The Naylor Brothers just happened to have what they needed in the form of a huge 30 acre manufacturing plant and a very, very talented scientist called H.H. Morgan

In the early 1920s the Naylor Brothers find themselves in financial difficulty. After lengthy negotiations, Nobel Chemical Finishes acquire Naylor Bros and the newly combined management, production, distribution and sales are concentrated at Slough.

In the late 1920’s Nobel Chemical Finishes joins forces with 3 major British chemical companies and becomes known as ICI Paints Limited.
In the early 1930s ICI bought out a local company, Naylor Brothers (London) Ltd, which had a paint factory in Wexham Road, and from then on has been one of the town's largest employers. The Wexham Road site was expanded in the 1960s and the 1980s.

ICI's best known product is probably Dulux paint, which was introduced in 1953, and the Dulux dog is one of the most easily recognizable characters in British advertising. The breed, the Old English Sheepdog, was fairly uncommon when the Dulux dog first appeared in the 1960s, but due to the influence of the adverts soon gained greatly in popularity.

The first ‘Dulux’ alkyd-based synthetic finish was based on a new formulation. The brand name ‘Dulux’ was established (a combination of ‘Durable’ and ‘Luxury’).

ICI is responsible for over 33,000 patented inventions. Their first great invention was polyethylene, which was discovered in a laboratory accident. Other notable inventions include Perspex, Paludrine (an anti-malaria drug), and the weed killer Paraquat.

In the 1990s the company was split into two. A new company, Zeneca, took on some areas of business, leaving ICI to concentrate on paints and chemicals. ICI Paints are still based in Slough

In 2008 AkzoNobel acquired ICI and Dulux become an important part of the world leading paints and performance coatings company.

The closure of the manufacturing operations in Slough and investment in a new site in Northumberland was announced in 2011.

The factory finally closed in 2018 with the contents being auctioned off in early June 2018


The Explore

I remember seeing this on the online news a while back and promptly forgot all about it, until PV showed me some pictures to prove that they could find stuff on their own and she can.

I promptly forgot about it again

Then @speed stuck the lead up on 28 and I found myself with a day to kill so headed to the opposite side of the M25 and decided to check it out.

Now on arrival I was a little surprised to see cars and lorries on site, so had a bit of a google search to make sure I had the right place and then went for a wander.

So secca in the hut and the front with a yappy dog made my plans a little more interesting and I ended up bunking into the site from the back, only to find double bubble and spot this too 

So I headed into the site though the various mazes of pipe work and out buildings all with various interesting bits

Then I find the paint processing and filling plant and robots that look like they’ve been part of some kind of transformers bukkake party lol

Wandering through the various empty buildings got a little boring but every now and then something nice would appear like the Dolphin plant

Nope not the area then they mulched up dolphins to make non vegan friendly paint but a separate paint plant inside the main part.

I then head towards the large chimney on the site hoping to see some kind of antiquated boiler house
Meh, it’s kinda modern but still a boiler house

Next to the boiler house was a funny little building seemingly used for some kind of electro paint testing. The tiled walls were much more my kinda thing

I made my way from here, narrowly missing the security patrol, into the nearby warehouses, pretty empty although a few looked like they had been used as part of an advertising campaign with various pictures painted on the walls.

I made my way to the art-deco style office block and training school which both showed loads of promise, but sadly where heavily stripped.

From the offices I made my way into the training school, again promising but stripped out

I decided that I’d had my fill of the place after this and as secca were on a round simply walked out of the front gate and made my way back to the car.

Now here’s where I realised id fucked up

Upon walking back to the car I noticed a bit I’d missed, it looked like modern labs. I knew if I didn’t venture back in to check id be pretty pissed off with myself.

So rather than walk back around the whole site I decided to clamber over a small fence and over some barbed wire and though a small patch of trees.

I did this with all the grace of a pissed baby gazelle. I’m not sure what hurt the most, the barbed wire slicing my leg, the tree scratching my neck and face, my ribs cracking as I hit the deck or my stupid dented male ego.

I was surprised my yelp, followed by uncontrollable laughter didn’t alert secca to my location, so I quickly got to my feet and found a way into the labs. Now the best part about summer is that people forget to close windows. I love you office workers, and I was in.

Hmmmm this bit wasn’t closed by a long shot.

So I had a quick wander and snapped a few lab pics before being drawn to the canteen.

When I say drawn my stomach dragged me there in a moment of hunger.

It was all good as I wandered in the canteen eyeing up what I was going to have to eat from the various vending machines to fulfil my hunger. I rummaged in my pocket for some change and approached the machines.

With that a guy stood up from the lower level

Fuck! I’ve been busted

Nope he just said Hi and sat back down again lol


However I did realise that this was a good time to leave and made my way back out the way I’d got in and headed for the achy rib brakey fence.

This time without incident lol

Overall not a bad site, but not as good as I had hoped

Hugh Jorgan

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Feb 2, 2015
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Aberdeen, Scotland
Looks like you had a few dicey moments but you managed to get through. A nice history write-up and nice photos. Did you manage to place a bid for something? I was going to bid for one of those 8.5 metre high storage tanks, would look nice outside my house, painted.


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Apr 1, 2012
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Sorry you took my WhatsApp message the wrong way MR. I sent you the pics and asked you if you wanted to go there so I could send you the info, nobody else I sent them to thought I had anything to prove, I'm a bit too long in the tooth to need to prove anything. Anyway I'm glad you made it there even though the site wasn't as good as you had hoped. No hard feelings!


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Mar 17, 2018
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Wow. Are you sure that’s abandoned and didn’t venture into a working plant? Brilliant photos.

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