Kodak Factory, Harrow, London

Kodak Factory, Harrow, London

A factory in Harrow that recently closed, Kodak manufactured photographic paper and film. Old turbines in the power house remain

Visited December 216 Harrow, London, UK Disused

History of the Kodak Alaris site in Harrow, London

Kodak’s first facility to open outside the US was located in Harrow, on a 7 acre plot of land. Opening in 1891, the site was originally used to develop photographs and kept around 100 chickens on site to supply the egg white required to coat the paper.

As the factory expanded, production of film rolls started, along with the manufacture of photographic paper. By the 1950s Kodak was the largest manufacturing plant in the British Commonwealth and employed around 6,000 staff.

Photo by Jonathan Hordle/REX (1543777a) The Kodak factory Kodak factory, Harrow, London
Photo by Jonathan Hordle/REX (1543777a) The Kodak factory, Harrow, London

Much more of the production process took place at the Harrow site in years gone by than it did more recently, including more coating and printing of the back of the paper. By the time of closure, only the final photographic coating was applied at Harrow, everything else was done at Kodak’s site in Germany before shipping the rolls of paper over to the UK for completion.

Production of photographic film ended in 2005, owing to the increasing popularity of digital imaging. As the demand for photographic prints dropped, so did production at the Harrow site. Closure was announced in April 2016, and production ceased in December 2016.

Power House

Kodak - Harrow - No. 2 English Electric turbine with 3.6MW alternator
Kodak – Harrow – No. 2 English Electric turbine with 3.6MW alternator
Kodak, Harrow - Originally there were two of these, one was removed some time ago
Kodak, Harrow – Originally there were two of these, one was removed some time ago
Kodak, Harrow - Turbine and lubrication systems
Kodak, Harrow – Turbine and lubrication systems
Kodak, Harrow - Turbine control panel
Kodak, Harrow – Turbine control panel
 
Kodak, Harrow - English Electric makers plate on access panel
Kodak, Harrow – English Electric makers plate
Kodak, Harrow - The more recent alternator No. 3 - A 5MW English Electric
Kodak, Harrow – The more recent alternator No. 3 – A 5MW English Electric
Kodak, Harrow - English Electric Alternator
Kodak, Harrow – English Electric Alternator
 
Kodak, Harrow - No. 3's Control Panel
Kodak, Harrow – No. 3’s Control Panel
Kodak, Harrow - Wider view of the turbine hall
Kodak, Harrow – Wider view of the turbine hall
Kodak, Harrow - These gas units replaced the old coal-fired boilers
Kodak, Harrow – These gas units replaced the old coal-fired boilers
Kodak, Harrow - The power house control room was a bit disappointing!
Kodak, Harrow – The power house control room was a bit disappointing!
Kodak, Harrow - The retro-styled board behind was interesting - individual square pins marking out the shift patterns
The retro-styled board behind was interesting – individual square pins marking out the shift patterns
Kodak, Harrow - The old boiler house
Kodak, Harrow – The old boiler house
Kodak, Harrow - Panels and deaerator in the boiler house
Kodak, Harrow – Panels and deaerator in the boiler house
Kodak, Harrow - Boiler house
Kodak, Harrow – Boiler house
Kodak, Harrow - Control panels
Kodak, Harrow – Control panels
 
Kodak, Harrow - Base of the chimney
Kodak, Harrow – Base of the chimney
Kodak, Harrow - Switchroom
Kodak, Harrow – Switchroom

The main building – photographic paper production

Moving into the main factory – this was already mainly stripped with only a few bits of machinery remaining…

Kodak, Harrow - Control Room
Kodak, Harrow – Control Room

A photosphere inside the control room when it was in use can be seen here

Kodak, Harrow - Another control room
Kodak, Harrow – Another control room
 
Kodak, Harrow - Lab equipment
Kodak, Harrow – Lab equipment
Kodak, Harrow - Laboratory
Kodak, Harrow – Laboratory
Kodak, Harrow - Melting vats
Kodak, Harrow – Melting vats

As you approach the production lines called tracks, lighting levels become gradually dimmer. This allowed the operators eyes to adjust to the near-darkness conditions they would be working in during their shift.

Kodak, Harrow - Rolls of paper are first loaded into the unwinder machine
Kodak, Harrow – Rolls of paper are first loaded into the unwinder machine
Kodak, Harrow - This machine could handle two rolls at once, one feeding into the track, whilst the other was being made ready
Kodak, Harrow -This machine could handle two rolls at once, one feeding into the track, whilst the other was being made ready
Kodak, Harrow - Next the paper is fed into the coating station which bombards the surface with electrons
Kodak, Harrow – Next the paper is fed into the coating station which bombards the surface with electrons
Kodak, Harrow - Finally, the coated paper is put back onto rolls by the realer, ready to be packed and shipped.
Kodak, Harrow – Finally, the coated paper is put back onto rolls by the realer, ready to be packed and shipped.
Kodak, Harrow - Back of the coating station
Kodak, Harrow – Back of the coating station
 
Kodak, Harrow - Loading Area
Kodak, Harrow – Loading Area

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