Friday, July 06, 2007

Chalk Hill Works Revisited


Chalk Hill Works Revisited, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

I first posted a photograph of this 1930s building to flickr two years ago and it has lain empty since then. The fabric of the building is starting to rapidly deteriorate and clear signs of subsidence can be seen in the car park. Doorways and gutters are becoming choked with weeds and parts of it appear to have flooded. The boards that have appeared on the windows since I first photographed it are there to prevent trespass rather than protect the building.

Derelict 1930s Factory, Rosary Road.

The site started off as Thomsons ironmongery works in the 19th century and manufacture continued there until after the war. (Production was given over to making shell and bomb casings 1939 - 45 and bombs fell near the entrance to the works during the so called Baedaker Raids). It was Thompson's who subsidised the Ferryman at Pulls Ferry until the start of World War II to allow their workers to take a short cut to the factory.

The factory has a hidden surprise. The buildings go back into the hill behind and join the Chalk caves (really flint mines)that riddle the whole of Thorpe Hamlet.) I was allowed to go down a little way some years back (although not take photos). The metal bunk beds that they used when it was air raid shelter during the war are still there..

Manufacture stopped and Thomsons turned into Decco and the works became a local distribution centre (that's a warehouse to you and me)

Two and a half years ago Decco moved their operation to their Ipswich works and the works have been empty ever since.

The building has Grade 2 listing and in spite of this outline planning permission has been given to develope the site for offices and housing. Industrial buildings are the most difficult to preserve as those of us who mourn the demolition of the fine Art Deco fa├žade to Jarrolds Printing works a few weeks ago well know.

Chalk Hill Works Revisited (again)

The site presents a lot of difficulty for any developer; Rosary Road used to be called Chalk Hill Road and chalk is not the best medium to lay foundations on. In addition because of its industrial history and because of the presence of at least two petrol tanks under the ground the site is heavily polluted. In addition the presence of 250 housing units will put a lot of pressure on local traffic. For all of the aforementioned reasons it seems likely that it will be a while before the site is developed and probably the land will be banked leaving residents with a view of a gradually rotting building.