views

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.

4 comments:

  1. Jorge, I have always wondered where the factory was and what remained. Plenty of people in the UK probably know the answer and could tell us. According to Royal Enfield ad copy, the factory was huge: 25 acres. Here's a link to a very low rez bit of artwork that supposedly shows it:
    http://tinyurl.com/c6jxdg
    All best.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jorge, did you used to work for the NSA or CIA by any chance? Nice work, all around.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Jorge,

    What an excellent site. I'm actually a Redditch resident but I have only lived here for 25 years son most of the Royal Enfield factory was gone before I arrived. Redditch was desiganted a "New Town" in 1964 as an overspill area to Birminghame which is 11 miles to the north. The New Redditch Development Corporation expanded the town from approx 30,000 residents to around 80,000 today the consequence being much rebuilding for both new housing and industry. Much of the original Royal Enfield factory was one of the casualties and replace by modern factory units on what is now known as the Enfield Industrial estate (As one of your correspondents has already noted.

    Having just retired and been an engineer all of my career, as well as an ex-biker (1960's)I'm just getting involved with Local Heritage groups and Royal Enfield will be one of my focus areas. (hence finding your site)

    So if I find anything new I will keep yu posted. Keep up your good work and as we always say, when you are in Redditch next, lok us up.

    ReplyDelete

BlogCatalog

Motor Sport Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory