The brewery was built in 1963 to make Harp Lager. In 1979, the brewery site was bought by Bass (the company that built Bass Maltings in Sleaford). In the last years of production, the ageing brewery had been reliant on brewing Heineken, which made up around 75 per cent of the total brewery production. In 2014, Heineken announced that it would not be renewing the contract at the site and, as a result, the brewery closed in May 2015 due to it becoming a loss-making venture, with 108 jobs being cut. The site was later sold to a developer, who intends to demolish the entire brewery complex and redevelop it into housing. Demolition is to begin soon.
Access into the actual site itself was easy except for the fact I slipped and gashed my hand on some barbed wire. I wasn’t banking on a foothold having a loose brick in it, which then slipped out under me, making me fall about 4 feet and gash my right hand badly – a spur of the wire caught my palm and dug about 5mm into it. I had some hand sanitiser in my bag, so I put that on the wound and then bound it with a spare face mask. But… Jesus H Christ it hurt like hell, especially when chemicals got dumped into the bleeding wound!
We then spent about half an hour looking around and scouting, with the first building we looked at being the boiler house. There were three massive boilers in there with auction lots posted on them. We didn’t see anyone about at all which kind of lulled us into a false sense of security (pun not intended) as you will later read! Access to the actual brewhouse was an absolute mission, but nevertheless we got inside (with much difficulty I must add, involved a lot of caution because of my hand!) and mooched around for a good three hours. There was no electricity at all so we were reliant on torchlight. The interior was very reminiscent of a cave – dark, echoey, dank and musty. The highlights were the conical bases of the brewing vats. Sadly, we didn’t get to see the control room as it was in its heyday. It had been stripped out. But much of the machinery was still in situ within the actual brewhouse part so that made up for that loss. The tanks themselves were enormous. All of them had the hatches open so I stuck my head in one and made a few silly sounds to listen to the echoes. Pretty good place to record sound effects! The rest of the explore was nice and chilled until the following…:
We got back to the ground floor and looked out a window… a security guard had turned up with a big vicious looking German Shepherd. Panic. Hide. Ten minutes later we got to the area near to where we got in. My friend sees a different secca guard running past a door we were holed up behind through a small window on said door (I had just unlocked it to get out by unbolting the top and bottom bolts) to where a broken window was on the opposite side of the building. Joe goes and watches the other side of the building. A minute later I see secca running towards the door. I duck down and then instantly bolt the door at the bottom. A second… literally… later, secca pushes on the door to try and open it and peers in through the glass window. Joe nearly blunders into the view despite me hissing for him to stay back and shut up. Secca walks back to the area where the broken window is. A minute later, we hear him beginning to enter into the room next to us via the broken window: “SECURITY!! WE KNOW YOU ARE HERE!”
Time to run. I unbolt the door and we both make a break for freedom and miraculously get out unscathed, apart from my hand whose gash reopened. The months of little exercise due to the COVID pandemic was apparent. A short 100-meter run was an absolute killer! Enjoy the photos though.