British Celanese – Chemical Works, Spondon, UK

British Celanese, Chemical Factory, Derby

British Celanese was a chemical plant in Spondon near Derby, UK, specialising in cellulose acetate fabrics, nylon based material and vinyl acetate. The factory closed in 2012.

Visited March - September 2014 Spondon, Derby, UK Demolition site

History of the British Celanese Plant, Spondon

British Celanese was established during World War One, when aircraft technology was in its infancy. The company was established to produce cellulose acetate dope, a substance used to stiffen the fabrics stretched over airframes and make them airtight and watertight.

Negotiations began in 1915 with the Dreyfus family who had previously established similar facilities in Germany, France and Switzerland; construction of the factory in Spondon began in 1916. Main contractors Robert McAlpine and Sons built the factory spread over a large area to minimise damage during an air strike. This method proved to be costly, totalling £3 million to build.

After the war the company began to diversify into different areas and in 1921 began to produce a filament yarn. Celanese materials suited the fashion of the 1920s and 30s and Acetate drape was very popular as an alternative to silk.

The Second World War saw the company move back into war work, focusing on parachute production and underwear. By the end of the war the company employed 20,000 people.

British Celanese, Spondon - The site was expanded massively over time
British Celanese, Spondon – The site was expanded massively over time

Expansion after the war saw the company further develop chemical products and chemical derivatives. In May 1957 British Celanese was purchased by Courtaulds and production of vinyl acetate for emulsion paints began, along with the production of nylon based materials. Tow production also began, and acetate tow was used for cigarette filters.

World demand for filter tow grew and to meet the demand, a new £50 million plant was opened to produce Cellulose Diacetate Flake in 1998.

In September 1998 Courtaulds plc was acquired by Netherlands based Akzo Nobel. Production was run down and finally ceased in 2012. Clarifoil, a subsidiary of Celanese continues production on site.

 

British Celanese, Spondon - Huge production lines
British Celanese, Spondon – Huge production lines
British Celanese, Spondon - Production line detail
British Celanese, Spondon – Production line detail
British Celanese, Spondon - One of the many production lines
British Celanese, Spondon – One of the many production lines
British Celanese, Spondon - Sections of production line
British Celanese, Spondon – Sections of production line
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Line and control panel
British Celanese, Spondon – Line and control panel
British Celanese, Spondon - Much older production line
British Celanese, Spondon – Much older production line
British Celanese, Spondon - Pipes and machines
British Celanese, Spondon – Pipes and machines
British Celanese, Spondon - Machinery
British Celanese, Spondon – Machinery
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Production areas
British Celanese, Spondon – Production areas
British Celanese, Spondon - Masses of pipes and machines
British Celanese, Spondon – Masses of pipes and machines
British Celanese, Spondon - Rows of machines
British Celanese, Spondon – Rows of machines
British Celanese, Spondon - Room of machines
British Celanese, Spondon – Room of machines
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Leading lines
British Celanese, Spondon – Leading lines
British Celanese, Spondon - Industrial pipes
British Celanese, Spondon – Industrial pipes
British Celanese, Spondon - Storage tanks
British Celanese, Spondon – Storage tanks
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Tall tanks
British Celanese, Spondon – Tall tanks
British Celanese, Spondon - Room containing lots of huge tanks
British Celanese, Spondon – Room containing lots of huge tanks
British Celanese, Spondon - Green machine
British Celanese, Spondon – Green machine
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Old control room
British Celanese, Spondon – Old control room
British Celanese, Spondon - Lots of lights in an old decaying control room
British Celanese, Spondon – Lots of lights in an old decaying control room
British Celanese, Spondon - Colourful lights in control room
British Celanese, Spondon – Colourful lights in control room
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Control room computers
British Celanese, Spondon – Control room computers
British Celanese, Spondon - Another control room in the older parts of the site
British Celanese, Spondon – Another control room in the older parts of the site
British Celanese, Spondon - Room with strange lighting making it feel like an alien lair!
British Celanese, Spondon – Room with strange lighting making it feel like an alien lair!
British Celanese, Spondon - Control panel
British Celanese, Spondon – Control panel
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Row of tanks
British Celanese, Spondon – Row of tanks
British Celanese, Spondon - Research and development centre
British Celanese, Spondon – Research and development centre
British Celanese, Spondon - Test equipment
British Celanese, Spondon – Test equipment
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Old computer
British Celanese, Spondon – Old computer
British Celanese, Spondon - Test equipment on bench in R&D Centre
British Celanese, Spondon – Test equipment on bench in R&D Centre
British Celanese, Spondon - Laboratory
British Celanese, Spondon – Laboratory
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Big rotating pipes
British Celanese, Spondon – Big rotating pipes
British Celanese, Spondon - A pair of huge rotating piles or tanks
British Celanese, Spondon – A pair of huge rotating piles or tanks
British Celanese, Spondon - Large tanks in newer, clean area
British Celanese, Spondon – Large tanks in newer, clean area
British Celanese, Spondon - Big tank
British Celanese, Spondon – Big tank
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Machines in new area
British Celanese, Spondon – Machines in new area
British Celanese, Spondon - Pipes and ladders
British Celanese, Spondon – Pipes and ladders
British Celanese, Spondon - Inside the large scale production areas
British Celanese, Spondon – Inside the large scale production areas
British Celanese, Spondon - Lots of complex machinery
British Celanese, Spondon – Lots of complex machinery
 
British Celanese, Spondon - View over the newer parts
British Celanese, Spondon – View over the newer parts
British Celanese, Spondon - Production machines
British Celanese, Spondon – Production machines
British Celanese, Spondon - Newer, computerised control room
British Celanese, Spondon – Newer, computerised control room
British Celanese, Spondon - Control room
British Celanese, Spondon – Control room
British Celanese, Spondon - External pipes
British Celanese, Spondon – External pipes
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Room full of pumps
British Celanese, Spondon – Room full of pumps
British Celanese, Spondon - Truck in a warehouse
British Celanese, Spondon – Truck in a warehouse
British Celanese, Spondon - Cooling towers
British Celanese, Spondon – Cooling towers
British Celanese, Spondon - Inside cooling tower
British Celanese, Spondon – Inside cooling tower
 
British Celanese, Spondon - Warehouse space
British Celanese, Spondon – Warehouse space
British Celanese, Spondon - Part of the factory and wind turbine at night
British Celanese, Spondon – Part of the factory and wind turbine at night

Leave a reply