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While working as an office manager at Hutchinson in Widnes in the 1860s, John Tomlinson Brunner met Ludwig Mond, who was also working there as a chemist. Mond decided to leave and establish a factory to produce alkali by the ammonia-soda process. Brunner joined as a partner. The factory at Winnington opened in 1873, and in time Brunner Mond & Co. Ltd became the largest producer of soda in the world. Brunner Mond merged with several other leading chemical companies to form Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in 1926. Winnington Works manufactured sodium carbonate (soda ash) and its various by-products such as sodium bicarbonate (bicarbonate of soda), and sodium sesquicarbonate. It was at the laboratories on this site that polythene was discovered by accident in 1933 during experiments into high pressure reactions. The Winnington Works were divested to the newly formed company, Brunner Mond, in 1991. It was again sold in 2006, to Tata and in 2011 was re branded as Tata Chemicals Europe. Soda ash and calcium chloride production ceased at the Winnington plant in February 2014, bringing to a close 140 years of soda ash production in Northwich. The head office and the sodium bicarbonate plant remain at Winnington. Rotary Dissolvers Heavy Ash Mixers Heavy Ash Secheurs These were used to dry the finished product Looking around the buildings a bit more, we find a filtration plant As a lover of anything control-roomy I got excited to see this sign... And was pretty disapointed to find only this inside. External shots Statues of John Tomlinson Brunner and Ludwig Mond stand either side of the entrance to Mond House, the company headquarters. And finally.... I had a brief look around this substation and pretty much dismissed it until at the last moment I noticed "System Control Room" above a door that opens to nowhere. Realising this was previously connected to the now-demolished power station, I made a bit more of an effort. Once I got inside my jaw dropped. The old control panels more than made up for the crappy control room in the main works.
Explored with -Raz-, FatPanda & a non member as part of one of our days out. So first of all a little background - Short and sweet. Soda Ash (Sourced from Wiki) - "Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda, soda ash and soda crystals), Na2CO3, is the sodium salt of carbonic acid (soluble in water)." The production of Soda Ash began on this site in the late 1800's with the buldings being updated and extended as more technologies became available. In 1926 Brunner Monds became part of ICI and stayed part of the industrial chemical manifacturing giant until 1991 when they bought back the rights and became a stand alone company. However in 2006 they were bought out by Tata Chemicals and shortly after the production was ceased. The Explore; An unbelievable amount of fun, bridges, cat walks, conveyour belts and control panels ect. Everything you could possibly want in a dirty great industrial splore! Its a little daunting at first but once you find your confidence its brilliant to mish around the rafters and climb around the machinary of the building! Soda Ash its self is a horrible substance and if you go i suggest a pair of gloves and a very good mask. The mask i had wasnt very good and i had a sore throat for quite a few weeks after, and it makes you skin come out in a strange rash... but its great fun really dont let that put you off Please find below a series of photos from the day; Conrol Panel was still lit up!! If you got this far thanks for reading More at my page - www.facebook.com/seldomseenworldue
Soda Ash has been produced on this site since 1874, although the existing works are no where near that old, they are still pretty old. Brunner Mond became part of ICI in 1926 and the separated out again in 1991. They were brought by Tata Chemicals in 2006 and re-branded as such. There is actually only a relatively small part of this site left compared to what it would have been when actively producing soda ash. The part that remains is the associated equipment for the storage and packaging of the product, the actual works that would have produced the soda ash have long since gone. The place is still used for storage to this day, lorries come and go from the site quite frequently hence the reason the power is on, all the lights work and some of the control panels glow at you. This was explored with Frosty, Jesus, Thompski and a non member called Callum. Thanks to Thompski for the suggestion of going here, it was tops! I have to say I absolutely LOVED this place, it's like a giant climbing frame with so many interesting bits and pieces to photograph, in particular there's lots of old signs which I just love. Everything is covered in a thick layer of soda ash which gets everywhere! It isn't harmful, but I do recommend a dust mask if you go here - none of us had one, and we were all coughing the next morning! The roof space was awesome! There was a good 2 inches of soda ash dust on this walkway! Control room Complete with dusty telephone. And control panels that still glow at you And did I mention the signs? Here's a selection of them. Cheers for looking! Maniac
Just in case any of you are getting the wrong impressions of my report-posting tendencies, normal non-posting status will likely be resumed within the near future. I'd be loathed to get your hopes up unwittingly, you see. With this in mind, please accept my humble and sincere apologies for this interruption to regular jesus-service, and rest assured that, once you've read this report, you'll have that much less shit to deal with. I mean, c'mon, how often do I inconvenience you with a selection of daguerreotypal efforts from my generally half-arsed and lazy adventures? Not very often, I think you'll agree. Comedy and effortsome access led to an enjoyable 'derp with lights on' - and you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a derp from the outside. Lorries regularly pass through the ground level of this facility for storage, and a number of mysterious mechanical noises accompanied our footsteps. Thanks for stopping in, RJ