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Polycell and Shredded Wheat Factories - Exteriors

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Pete

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When Welwyn Garden City was first envisaged and developed it had been recognised by its founder, Ebenezer Howard, that industry needed to be incorporated in order to provide a self suffficient community. Land east of the town centre and GNR mainline was put aside for this purpose and Tewin, Bessemer and Broadwater Roads were layed out. Broadwater Road accomodated the most significant factories, principally on the west side backing the railway. To date this area survives largely extant albeit very much expanded, although looks set to be much altered over the next year or two.

The shredded wheat factory, owned previously by Nabisco and now Cereal Partners represents the earliest of factory developments in WGC and was designed in art deco style by the main town planner, Louis de Soissons. Unlike others of its age such as the Firestone or Hoover buidlings, the factory doesn't rely on a striking facade but its huge concrete silos provide a familiar landmark. Anyone with associations with WGC will also be familiar with the smell associated with the factory. Unfortunately Cereal Partners are relocating all production to Staverton and the old Shredded Wheat factory will close over the next year. Plans presently indicate that the site will be redeveloped for apartments although the majority iof the building and silos will be retained as the site is listed Grade II.


Offices at corner of Broadwater and Bridge roads.


Stepped roofs facing Bridge Road.


Railway side and silos.


Loading bays and security office on Hyde way.


The silos from Broadwater road.

The shredded wheat annexe, south of Hyde Way is unusual in having never been completed. The three corner sections indicate the intended height of the structure. It is set to be demolished after closure.


Main entrance, corner of Hyde Way and Broadwater Road.


Unfinished frontage.


Isolated offices at railway end of Hyde Way

Adjacent to Shredded Wheat is located the former Polycell Factory which closed approx 10 years ago. Much of this site has had a varied history and the principal section which includes a hanger like structure originated as a film studio, owned by British Instructional Films and later the Associated British Picture Corporation. ABPC consolidated production to their main studios at Boreham Wood in 1951 and the studios became awarehouse for Ardath tobacco for ten years. Polycell (manufacturers of Polyfilla) then purchased the site which was much extended to the south, the north part, originally Unity Heating, being sold to Suchard Chocolate and extended as a regional distribution unit and offices in 1968. The north part is now owned by a holding company, Chinacorp, whose plans to clear the site for a temporary car park as an interim to redevelopment was recently refused. The south section is currently heald by Tesco and looks likely to end up as a site for one of their stores. None of the buildings are listed and there appears to be no on-site security presence.



Polycell factory and offices


BIF studios behind newer loading bays


Older factory buildings toward the back of the site.


Suchard offices and distribution unit facing Broadwater Road.


Older factory of Unity Heating (Young, Osmond and Young) behind 1960's offices.


Polycell site from railway footbridge.

Furthest south is Roche Products, part being originally designed by Otto Salvisburg during the 1930's. This is a vast and heavily secured site, incorporating R&D and production for the pharmaceutical industry. The companies headquarters have since transferred a short distance north off Bessemer Road and it seems likely that the Broadwater Road site will be wound down.


One of the earlier buildings on the Roche site.
 

Lightbuoy

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Hi Pete,

Great set of pics there! Ahh, Nabisco -the childhood memories are flooding back. Those were the days, when Great Britain still made most of the cereals (Shreddies used to be Nabisco and not Nestle!) I remember the nabisco logo was like a triangle in the top corner of the cereal box.
Seems a funny set up to have a site making food and a film all in one place.
Got me thinking though, wonder if the ever made "spaggetti" westerns there?:D

Your history / info on this site made interesting reading. Thanks again Pete.

Lb:cool:
 

Foxylady

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Those are some very interesting buildings there, Pete. Unusual, too, I'd have thought, for the Art Deco style to have survived in industrial buildings.
That corner section and unfinished frontage of Young, Osmond & Young is beautifully quirky. It's a real shame that it's due to be demolished.

Enjoyed those a lot, and the history too.
Thanks Pete.

Foxy :)
 

Jondoe_264

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Pete C;13914; said:
Furthest south is Roche Products, part being originally designed by Otto Salvisburg during the 1930's. This is a vast and heavily secured site, incorporating R&D and production for the pharmaceutical industry. The companies headquarters have since transferred a short distance north off Bessemer Road and it seems likely that the Broadwater Road site will be wound down.


One of the earlier buildings on the Roche site.

Myself and st00p explored the Roche site about 4 months or so back. It was mostly gutted and reasonably uninspiring, but I'll put some pics on the thread later this evening. :)

Cheers,

JD
 

King Al

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Good stuff pete, as always, I would agree with foxy on this one they do look rather odd for industral buildings but I do like them.

Foxylady;13931; said:
Those are some very interesting buildings there, Pete. Unusual, too, I'd have thought, for the Art Deco style to have survived in industrial buildings.
That corner section and unfinished frontage of Young, Osmond & Young is beautifully quirky.
 

Jondoe_264

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So yes, Roche Pharmaceuticals. We were in town on the hunt for a modern storm drainage network and had the Shredded Wheat/Roche sites as a fall back should we draw a blank on the drains front. Obviously we did draw a blank, on arrival it seemed the Shredded Wheat site was rather more in use than we'd hoped and so we carried on up the road to the Roche site.

Being as neither of us found the location amazingly inspiring our pics rather reflect that, but regardless they may be of interest.

Although the site had been pretty well stripped out it still had the power on, first noticed when we approached an automatic door which promptly opened! Lights and heating were on in various spots throughout the site as well.

roche3.jpg

Glazed corridor leading to the automatic double doors.

roche2.jpg

corridor

roche4.jpg

Canteen, one of the few places to still have furniture.

roche1.jpg

Very clean stairs


Me on the very clean stairs - Pic by st00p


Me in some sort of defunct lab - pic by st00p

roche7.jpg

Nasty smelly leaking goo!

roche5.jpg

st00p on the roof.

roche6.jpg

Main building exterior.

It's fair to say that we didn't find the location overly exciting, but it at least made the days travelling not a total waste of time. :) Our visit was in January of this year.

JD
 

Foxylady

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See what you mean...the architecture does look rather more interesting from the outside than in. Do like those round windows, though, and the period canteen furniture.

Thanks for that, Jd

Foxy :)
 

Pete

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Jondoe_264;13942; said:
It's fair to say that we didn't find the location overly exciting, but it at least made the days travelling not a total waste of time. :) Our visit was in January of this year.

JD + St00p, Well done for getting inside Roche, it looked rather well fortified when i took the exterior photos. I agree that it does look rather bare and lacking appeal inside.Personally i don't really enjoy exploring interiors of factories but its nice to see other people pics. Do you know roughly how much of the site was unoccupied in January by any chance?

Foxy + KA, theres still quite a few decent art-deco factories (having once been the mainstay of light and electrical buildings) still around and a number are protected by preservation orders. That said, the drive towards modernising corporate image and the continuing demise of longstanding uk companies is still whittling those numbers down. The recent demise of the Guinness Brewery in Park Royal illustrates this quite well.

Pete
 

King Al

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Those pictures are interesting, what an odd place better than the average factory.:)
 

King Al

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Some intresting stuff there:) I like the one showing the pointy roofs. I hope the police didn't give you to much hassle.
 

crocroche

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hi went round again just to do the exteriors yawn. then i got attacked by a calor gas bottle though im glad it was empty (empty=lightweight)!.
R0010149.png

(i hate that image!)
anyway there is a report here in the 1930s the main part of the factory wich is a airhanger lookalike! was a film studio the history gets a bit mashed up here but at sometime polycell was built next to it anyway so polycell then bought the studio nocked through and voula 1 f**king big factory. most of the pics are on my photobucket account there is a link at the end! but i will hav a go at posting them here
R0010122.png

oops i forgot here is the link click me!
 
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shadowman

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I had a look at this place today on my Hertfordshire mooch round,all i can say is its ONE HOT DZ, cars constantly going up and down the road, no way in through the front, dome cameras on the Roche bit, on the other side of the road in the old Roche HQ a CHUBB security guard sits in a Reception with a full view of the Perimiter of the Disused bit,also the Roche part still seems to have a working boiler house with steam coming from the roof???,also the whole area STINKS OF SHREDDIES,maybe you can PM me where i am going wrong,TOOOOO HOTTY FOR ME.:icon_evil
 

Reaperman

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Just an update on this site. Polycell, and the studios have been flattened. Cerial Partners may be going the same way, hopefully there is some listing on the buildings, but developers will probably get around it ( I believe Tescos own the land :icon_evil ). Anyway if you want to buy an oven check out the site http://www.goindustry.com/en/saledetails.asp?SaleID=8624&S=17

So has activity on the cerial partners / shreaded wheat site wound down? Has site clearance started?
 
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