Wallerscote Island Soda Ash Works aka The Snow Factory

The Wallerscote Works in Northwich is a live industrial site, the running machinery makes for an interesting explore, and the sites lighting makes for some great pictures.

Snow Factory - Machine
 

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History

John Brunner and Ludwig Mond were industrial chemists. Their company was originally formed in 1873. They built Winnington Works in Northwich, Cheshire and produced their first soda ash a year later. They chose Winnington because it sits on a bed of salt 600 feet thick, is fairly close to the Buxton limestone quarries and had good transport links.

By 1881, the partnership was well established and became a limited company, producing 200,000 tons of soda ash each year. Brunner Mond established themselves as the country’s biggest soda ash producer and continued to expand. In time, Brunner Mond & Co. provided virtually all of Britain’s soda ash, and became the world’s largest alkali exporter. Wallerscote island Works was completed in 1926. An almost bizarre like construction of silos and huge metal sheds although all were integral parts of the original structure. The company later became part of ICI which is now owned by Tata.

Sodium Carbonate is a widely used in industry for casting and glassmaking. It is commonly used in chemistry as a base and an electrolyte. It is also used domestically in detergents, dyes and toothpaste as well as tasty sherbet sweets!

Our Visit

A dash across the country on a Sunday afternoon with Mr T, we arrived shortly before the sun was due to set.

“Look at that place, what is it?” asked Mr T as we neared our target, the imposing buildings standing tall and proud as they came into view. “That is where we are going” I exclaimed. “We are going in there?” Came the excited reply.

We approach and realise this isn’t going to be the usual quiet explore we are accustomed to. The whirring, banging, clanking and thuds of machinery could clearly be heard, lights shining brightly from within. We didn’t encounter any people on our first visit, presumably they had all gone home for the weekend. We relaxed into the explore as the sun set and the lights in the place brought a new dimension to our shots.

Although the site is no longer used as a production facility it is still very much live. This was confirmed on my second visit along with Mars Lander, Sshhhh… and Karma, not only where the machines still running but trucks were making deliveries and workers in high-vis jackets could clearly be seen walking around the place! Undeterred we crack on, making a James Bond covert style entry and straight away have to avoid the trucks driving around. Before long we figure out where the workers are likely to stay and start exploring.

Snow Factory - Pile of Snow!

Snow Factory – Pile of Snow!

Snow Factory - Borg Cube

Snow Factory – Borg Cube

Snow Factory - Selfie

Snow Factory – Selfie

Snow Factory - Man outside Control Room

Snow Factory – Man outside Control Room

Snow Factory - Silo

Snow Factory – Silo

Snow Factory - Snow Machine!

Snow Factory – Snow Machine!

Snow Factory - Control Room

Snow Factory – Control Room

Snow Factory - External

Snow Factory – External

If you liked this report or would like to see more, check out Proj3ctM4yh3m's report about Wallerscote Island Soda Ash Works on his blog.

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