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GES008 - Former Gillette Factory, Osterley

G Factory, London (Trips 1&2) Jan 2010

The Factory was built in 1937, on a design by Sir Banister Flight Fletcher. It closed in 2006, when globalisation dictated it was wiser to use cheaper labour in Poland. It is being converted into a hotel.

I was aware of this place for sometime, but never particularly interested. When Silentmotion and Ali_Explores put it up in the 28DL members section, interest increased. For me was the added attraction of it being another Downfallen site. GE052 mentioned he was up for doing it, so we met up, where it was announced that GE051 was joining us. However, she was delayed on the tubes, so we went to pick her up in GE052's car.

Finally ready to go, we hopped into the site, and Laura who'd been before, agreed to lead the way. After wandering around fairly aimlessly, she admitted she had no idea where we were or how to get to the clock tower. After doing a circuit of the upper floor, we found a suitable window and climbed out and then up onto the roof.

Whilst on the roof, I was left to set up my nice new tripod and camera. As I flicked the switch to on, I noticed a distinct lack of action. I'd left my battery in the charger. D'oh! Nevermind, I usually carry a back up Canon A640, which I dutifully set up on the tripod. Switched on, lovely, then the 'you have no memory card dummmy' message flashed up. "Noooooooo!" So my final back up, my iPhone!

I realised as the above photo testifies, that my iPhone made as good a camera as the Pope makes a Gay porn star, so I left GE052 & GE051 to it. I set about getting into the clocktower. However this was no easy task. The door's were firmly shut, and there appeared no other door entry, only the thin windows above. I looked at the building nearby, thinking there might be a lower entrance. No joy. I was most puzzled. GE052 & GE051 were laughing at my futile attempts. As I looked again at the doors, I noticed the screws were missing from a vent in the door. Bingo! And I set off up the clock tower, the others joining me after snapping away for awhile. GE052 went for an interesting angle from the stair well

I sat around, as the Nikon duo snapped away. Laura bizarrely working her way around the room taking zillions of photos. We also popped out of the hatch at the top of the tower but it was cold, so I came down, waiting for GE051 to finish. Made a change from people waiting for me to finish, now I know how they feel!

We went down a set of stairs next to the Tower door, and came out at the top of the main stairs, the ones we'd climbed to get on this floor originally, D'oh!

After we went into the newer building that sits at a right angle to the factory. Up to the top floor, where we found the canteen for the workers, still in good nick. After setting the Exploring world to rights, it was out the way we came. Where I failed again, and ripped the strap off my tripod bag. Sniff. I said goodbyes, as GE052 gentleman like, took GE051 back to the station.

TRIP 2 (Later on in Jan 2010)

I needed to come back to get some decent shots, so I made the call to GE061, who brought along GE062. We met up out front, and went in the usual way.

As before, we walked across the darkened ground floor, open and dark with just piles of crap here and there. Then up the main stairs

through the door that leads to the roof, no climbing out of windows this time. We took some shots on the roof, the main tower being the main focus. The quality a little better than with my iPhone.

And then featuring the factory roof.

A few weeks after the first time here, someone had decided they couldn't find the way in, so forced the door. It now opened. We passed up to the mid level, where the lovely spiral staircase sits.

And then up the spiral staircase, into the top of the tower where the clock faces sit. GE061 & GE062 looking around.

It was then up the wooden ladder, through the hatch and onto the top of the tower for some good views.

Looking south across the Great West Road (A4)

After a crafty spliff, it was down again for a poser shot

It was then down the spiral staircase, and into the lower part of the tower.

We then wandered down some different stairs at the back of the building. The middle floor showing a large open space. The piercing blue light from the clock tower bursting through and leaving it's mark.

We then nipped across the courtyard, keeping an eye out for security, and into the newer building. Up the stairs we headed past training rooms to the canteen. Some bad lightpainting of the canteen, the central podium is where Downfallen did a brilliant Saturday Night Fever style shot.

Followed by the serving area

And it was off to see the rest of the building, which featured various engineering type lab rooms and rooms with unknown equipment in, like this one.

We felt we'd done the site justice, and walked back through the ground floor of the factory, around the edge of some dug out pit. A little precarious at times. A possible future swimming pool? Rather than try the original entry point, I tried a different way out, which erm, wasn't so easy!


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