ROF Chorley

When orginally built in the late 30's the site covered 928 acres, had 1500 buildings, 25 miles of railway track and 50 miles of road! Since the war, the site has only been in partial use, and has really been run down since the early 90’s. A decision was taken by BAE Systems (who by then owned ROF) in the mid 90’s to redevelop large parts of the site and these have been cleared and the land reclaimed. This area is now called Buckshaw Village, and is a mixed housing and business park.
What is left of the working bit of the ROF, in the south east corner of the site, will be shut by the end of 2007 with the loss of 200 jobs. It had been planned to consolidate the site site in line with reducing demand, ultimately resulting in a dedicated low volume initiators manufacturing facility. However, it was decided that this was not realistic in part due to the tragic incident on the site in March 2006 where a worker lost their life. This necessitated ceasing manufacture pending a thorough review of all manufacturing processes involving primary explosives. The timescale required to re-validate processes was far in excess of the time available to ensure uninterrupted supply of initiatory devices to the rest of the business. There was also the issue of increasing investment demands for plant and infrastructure, reducing requirements and products with obsolescence issues. As a result, it was decided not to re-commence full manufacturing operations at Chorley.
For reasons that are unclear, a number of buildings had not been demolished in the area that is now Buckshaw Village. The main building looked like one of the old power stations, plus two smaller office like buildings. The power station was completely empty and was used for the storage of gravel, although a fairly recent boiler is still on site adjacent to the power station. All around, the infrastructure of the power station had been removed, although the foundations were still in place and things like sluices and water pipes were also still in place.

An illustrated talk on the history of the site by Steve Williams of the Chorley Remembers project can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-7R9TzFSzI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The definitive history of the site, which I used to compile the above, is in this book available on Amazon. It's slightly out of date since the place has been demolished, but everything pre-1997 is up to date.. It's out of print now, but second hand copies do come available.