Cereal Partners Shredded Wheat Factory, Welwyn Garden City, May 2009
Reading through an old newspaper article written in 2005 it would seem Cereal Partners wanted to close the site circa 2007 and move the whole operation to Staverton. Some people thought this was a rather cynical move with a hidden agenda of realising the sites asset value, but it looks like C.P. got their way. Explored twice, firstly with very late at night (too dark to take pictures) and secondly about a week later during daylight hours. Lots of conveyer belt equipment and machinery still remains in place, including what looks like the packing and dispatching area. There were also kitchens, dining rooms, a large engineering department and laboratories that were untouched. Unfortunately it looked like most of the equipment used for the actual manufacture of cereals had been stripped out and some areas of the site looked liked they had been abandoned for years given the level of decay.
Almost the first thing that strikes you about this huge factory complex are the immense silos that dominate the area. I would have loved to have climbed them but alas it was not to be.
Once inside the main factory it's clear to see what a huge operation this once was. Most of the factory floor equipment has gone now except for a series of conveyer belts down the Western side of the factory.
Mounted up off the factory floor, again down the western side of the building, were a series of small offices used by the management to oversee the operations. Inside the offices there were still piles of paperwork and filing cabinets.
I liked the funny drawing of the small man raising his fist and wonder who drew it and what the story behind it was. Perhaps it's a caricature of someone who once worked there.
We follow the conveyor belts behind the offices to see where they lead to.
We go up some stairs,,,,
They lead us right to the back of the building where we discover an extensive array of machinery and conveyor belts in mint condition. This appears to be the part of the factory where the cereals were once loaded and dispatched
We double back and head right over to the other side of the factory to look at the upper floors, where lie the kitchens and dining rooms. Another couple of strange finds; an ancient live screen and computer, once used by security, and three candelabras lined up on a shelf. As if anyone would want to have a candle lit dinner in the factory?
We drop back down to the lower floors and take in the engineering department where the machinery was once maintained. Practically everything is still in place but as we move around the area I notice "Lot number" tags hanging off the old machinery so I guess everything is up for auction and will soon be gone for scrap.
We take a look inside the laboratories. As the site is still semi-live electricity is still on tap so it's possible to play back old messages the answer-phone. Pretty much everything else has gone.
We are almost finished now with just the silos to go. On the way there we pass through some of the really old parts of the factory which look as if they have been closed for years.