The history of this place was someone unknown to me but having previously spotted it when visiting Welsh Bicknor I knew I had to return one day.

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 shifts 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 available 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 1994 and is shortly due for complete demolition.

The bomb shelters that accompany the factory were a surprise find at the end of the day.


  • tumbles, May 31, 2014 @ 16:56

    No I didn’t. Trespass is a civil matter, not criminal, remember.

  • Duncan, May 29, 2014 @ 09:05

    Did you get permission to go in and if so who did you get it from? I’d also love to look around but don’t really want to trespass.

  • tumbles, June 18, 2013 @ 19:36

    I’m not sure you’ve got the jist of this site!

  • nat, June 18, 2013 @ 08:45

    I’ve tried to get in here a few times and failed miserably. Any ideas without trespassing?! Good photos.

  • Zoe, October 22, 2011 @ 19:09

    I just want to get in and explore!

  • Lynda Heywood, May 7, 2011 @ 17:07

    Did not think I would find a site for it, my grand father was Foreman there, he retired about 1963. Mr F Phelps and was looking for history of him. Ive learnt quite a bit about the factory and a recently a firm called Tempco. I would welcome any information, thanks

  • fiona, September 3, 2009 @ 00:10

    I came across this building yesterday whilst exploring, its absolutly amazing! I can’t wait to return with my camera

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