Sunday, March 1, 2009
Where in Redditch? (Updated)
I'm in Montevideo, Uruguay, it's Sunday and it's raining, so I thought I would try to find the original Royal Enfield factory in Google Earth. At first I did not succeed, but with some help from kind readers, some progress was made (check the two updates at the bottom). This is a google maps image of Redditch, UK. According to Wikipedia "Many of the original [Royal Enfield] factory buildings still remain, most remain in a derelict state and can been seen at the beginning of Bromsgrove Road and opposite the town railway station". That would suggest one of the buildings at the bottom of the picture, However I also found online this picture, which claims that "Lowan's Hill Farm is just visible in the background". However, Lowan's Hill Farm is about a mile to the north of the train station, So I am asking the readership of this blog (ok, I only know for sure there is one reader apart from myself, but he's a knowledgeable gentleman!): do you know which of these buildings was part of the UK Royal Enfield factory? It could be that there were many buildings involved, stretching from Bromsgrove Road all the way to Lowan's Hill farm? Or perhaps the farm extended closer to Bromsgrove Road in the past? When I get back home I will try to look in books for more pictures of the original factory to see if we can make them out in the google maps photograph. Update 3/3/09: Using Microsoft Search Live and its incredible "bird's eye" view, which allows to see things in 3d and rotate, I was able to find the building. Indeed it is in what is called the "Enfield Industrial Estate" which borders the farm and is about a mile north of the train station. It is evident that the Royal Enfield factory involved many buildings, and that some of them are still standing, whereas others have been demolished and replaced by new buildings. Here is the building of the picture, seen from the air, and here are the buildings next to the station. They look old, so probably they were part of the RE factory, Update 2 (3/3/09): An anonymous reader in David Blasco's blog pointed out a photo album which includes photos of a building with a plaque stating that RE motorcycles were built there, The plaque is that grey round circle in the little building on the left, I was able to find the building in the map, and it sits on the same block in the Enfield Industrial estate as the building with the blue door (upper right corner in this photo), You can try flying to the building yourself with Google Maps. So this confirms that this block is a chunk of the old RE factory. It remains to be seen if the buildings by the station or other buildings also belonged to the plant.