Pilkington Glass Factory. Just over a year on from my first trip to this abandoned glass factory it was time for a revisit to see how things were looking. Unlike last time we bypassed the bridge and found that gaining entry was trickier than before. The land is now being utilised for railway sleeper storage overflow from another nearby business. There are stacks of sleeper all around the back of the building. Once inside we covered most of the main building… fresh tracks in the lower part of the really long room indicated recent forklift movements so I suspect that part my also be part in use.
I quite like the size of this place, I think it would be rather fun for some wire woool shots… maybe in the future…
Construction of the factory began in 1919 but it apparently opened in 1922 at great cost to the Pilkington company which was established in 1826 over in St Helens. The site was chosen due to its canal side location and access to local coal and sand. In 1923 Pilkington’s, in collaboration with Ford in the States, developed a continuous flow process for the manufacture of glass plate and a method of continuous grinding. However in the 1950′s Pilkington’s developed the “float” method of glass production (the molten glass is poured onto a bath of molten tin at 1000C). This was much cheaper as it did not require the grinding and polishing processes. Pilkington’s quickly set about converting all their factories to this new technology with the exception of the Doncaster plant which retained the old method of production.
At its peak the factory had around 3,000 employees but by 1966 the plant was only running at 56% capacity and eventually the doors closed in 2008. The site was then sold in 2009 and has remained abandoned ever since. I’m not sure what the plans are for the site but there certainly doesn’t seem to be any signs that the area is to be redeveloped.
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