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Edison Swan Cable Works, Lower Lydbrook

Vistied this several times over the years, infact I remember the place still being in operation during the 90’s. A vast site looking rather sorry for itself these days, not least due regular police training that operates on site.

In 1912 Harold J Smith purchased land at Stowfield and erected The Lydbrook Cable Works. The First World War provided a number of contracts with employee numbers expanding from 40 to 650 with double shilfts being worked. With the end of the War, came a slump in business, and in 1920 the Official Receiver was brought in ending Smith’s connection with the Factory.

The business was bought in 1925 by Edison Swan Electric Company. With the greater resources avaialable the plant at Stowfiled further expanded, and was well placed to help with the Second World War possessing one of only four machines for making lead alloy tube needed for P.L.U.T.O. – (Petroleum Lines Under The Ocean), which allowed fuel to be supplied to the Allied invasion force on the Continent from Britain. In the late 1940s,

Edison Swan was swallowed up by the Associated Electrical Company. Integrated with the Siemens Cable Works at Woolwich the Stowfield Factory at its height employed approximately 1,100 people. The Cable Works came to an end in 1966 when the Factory was bought by Reed Paper Group, which in its turn was taken over by a Swedish Company SCA. The factory finally ceased to be used around 2003

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6 comments

  1. just acquired a cheque of h.w sith lydbrook.signed by him.refer to drawer at lloyds bank cinderford.£10 12s 9D

  2. I don’t have any names, 99.99% of the places I visit are never because I ask someone. If you go to the front gate and ask security they might let you in. I visited this place over 4 years ago when you could just walk in. Things are much different these days.

  3. Hello,
    Stunning images of a stunning subject.
    Would you be so kind as to tell me how you gained access..
    I am planning a shoot and this is literally the perfect location. Do you have a name or any contact details to te relevant person to gain access? Any help would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks
    James

  4. To AJ Ferguson- HW Smith (my Great Grandfather)built his factory in Lydbrook because that was where he lived. Originally his wire works produced materials for the local mining & quarrying industry. Although he went on to make and loose two fortunes through both wars he remained a firm supporter of his local community. Even though he passed away in 1959 at the age of 80 he is still regarded as a major contributor to the area. He was responsible for both the original gas lighting and electrical power supplies to the valley.

  5. I am perplexed as to why this large complex was built is such an out of the way place! Normaly the reason why a manufacturing site is where it is, is because it is close to some natural resource or a center of population. What was the reason, other than it was close to a railway line. Where did all of these 1000 employees come from and where were they housed?

    Alex

  6. Passed this area recently (late Sept) & saw the hole in the rear fence (by bridge) & all other gaps been sealed up properly. Shame, but place is for sale, so I guess they wanna protect it. I only put a couple of my pix on Flickr. MEB

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