Before this site was abandoned security was tight- the large metal fences and security booth visible as we approached the vast abandoned microwave meal factory. We popped into the security hut, ironically following the old “All contractors and delivery drivers to report to security” sign which greeted us. We also didn’t have any nuts with us- so far, so good.
A desk with computer, files, cabinets and keys storage filled the fairly bland room, the look completed by a 90s CD player propped on the windowsill.
Moving further into the facility, we darted across the loading bay, which was cluttered with old pallets and crates, towards the first open door we could find- and into a large production building. The first few rooms were offices, with desks and filing cabinets lining the walls of the windowless rooms.
Next was the production area, with a few cavernous rooms entirely stripped out, bar a range of ready meal packaging sleeves scattered across the floor and signs on walls dictating which shape of pasta should be stored where. The next few rooms had more left behind- rows of industrial ovens and freezers were the main attraction here- once cooking and then storing convenient microwave meals before they were distributed to supermarkets across the country.
We headed upstairs, into what could have been a product development facility, with smaller kitchens and a few tins of ingredients left behind. Amongst the rest of the rooms and offices we explored, ice cream scoops and various PPE shared the haphazard space with the odd trolley or chair.
Nearly 900 people were employed on the 10 acre site, which had been in use for nearly 40 years before its closure in 2021. The owner of the factory chose to shut it down and relocate production to other facilities across the UK, as it was deemed too expensive to modernise the buildings. The site is destined to be developed for housing and it’s thought a buyer has been found. Within 3 months of the factory’s closure, it was reported that only 30 of the former staff were still out of work.
Last Updated on 29 August 2023 by Michael