After seeing a few reports from this place and my fascination with decaying heavy industry, I finally got to chance to see it for myself along with my urbex buddy, Greenthum. Many have said that this place is a colossal site... I wasn't disappointed and they weren't exaggerating! We got onto the site about 0330hrs... whilst it was lashing down with rain and found our way into the main buildings. It was pitch black, so we mooched around for about 45 minutes or so before we had our first brush with secca. Off we scarpered and took refuge in one of the smelting buildings, hidden amongst the shadows. Either they didn't see us or our stealth skills are far too superior for the likes of them. As light crept in, we started taking plenty of long exposure shots and I must admit, the site is perfect for wide angle work with a very deep DOF. You need it to capture the sheer scale of this once bustling steel mill. As the day went on we had more brushes with secca... one where we were up on the upper level and I was resting my legs at the top of the stairs... two of them walked right underneath me... and the closest brush was while we were in the main milling room next to the production line and we saw a torch in the room next to us. We both crouched down and hid... secca walked over the bridge, looked straight towards me but carried on walking. You'd swear we were fitted with cloaking devices...!
Anyway, here's a bit of history about the place and then the images will follow. Enjoy... and if anyone hasn't been to this place yet, make sure it's on your list.
Thamesteel, originally called 'Co-steel', began production in November 1972 (a month after I was spawned) under management of a Canadian company. It's main function was to recycle scrap cars into usable steel rods, most of which were used as 're-bar' in concrete structures and panels. When it first began operating, the plant was capable of recycling 180,000 tons of scrap metal using the electric-arc method and by 1975, a further �5 million had been invested to increase this output to 400,000 tons. The sheer capacity that this plant was able to produce demanded better transport solutions and a rail system was built to service the needs of the plant. During the 1990's, 'Co-steel' suffered huge financial losses and the plant was sold to ASW Holdings Limited of Cardiff, Wales in 1998. This only lasted for around four years and in 2002, the company went into receivership. By 2003 however, the plant had been bought and became Thamesteel.
Sadly, the plant again went into receivership in January 2012 and a workforce of around 350 lost their jobs... most of them are still fighting to get paid the wages they had earned before this news came to light. Things looked promising for the reopening of the plant in 2013 when it was taken back over by it's previous owners, Al-Tuwairqi-Group but as yet, nothing has been done with the site. It still sits derelict, with many of the tools, lifting tackle and machinery in the same position it was left when staff walked out on that fateful January day. The estimated cost to decontaminate the site is around �30 million.
Here's a few of my images. I feel it's a shame that such an epic site has been left to decay like this, but anyone with a liking for heavy industry will enjoy this place... I certainly did and can't wait for a revisit! Thanks for looking u>.<n
A very enjoyable explore with plenty of 'cat and mouse' with secca... can't wait to go back!