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Former Quaker Oats Factory Southall Ealing, Greater London

Gill, Jon Former Quaker Oats Factory Southall Ealing, Greater London. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology was commissioned by Galliard Homes, via RPS CGMS to investigate and record
the former Quaker Oats Factory in Southall, Ealing, west London. Among the many products
produced at this site was Sugar Puffs and therefore the complex is known locally as the Honey
Monster Factory. The site provides a good example of a particular type of industrial complex
from the first half of the 20th century known as a ‘daylight factory’ comprising a main multi�storey range with a reinforced concrete-frame and a non-loadbearing curtain wall with
extensive glazing to ensure plentiful natural light. As a building type the daylight factory
originated in America in the first decade of the 20th century and the earliest example is
acknowledged to be a range constructed in 1903 by Ernest Ransome at the Pacific Coast Borax
Refinery in Bayonne, New Jersey. Other early examples which are perhaps better known are
several car plants in Detroit including Henry Ford’s Highland Park which was laid out between
1908-10 using the principles of the architect Albert Khan.
Although daylight factories continued to be built throughout the interwar period their heyday,
when they were seen as modern and innovative, was relatively brief. In the 1920s other types
of factory were becoming more common such as the so-called ‘by-pass factory’, with low
sprawling manufacturing sheds behind a prominent office range (often highly decorative).
The advantages of natural illumination brought by the daylight factory were becoming less
important due to the spread of electric lighting.
The ‘daylight factory’ form of the Honey Monster factory would therefore have been a
relatively conservative design for 1936 and it is also austere for an industrial complex of this
period, particularly for a national market product such as this where architecture could be
used as advertising. The complex was first constructed in 1936 and it was subsequently
expanded in several phases prior to its closure in 2016. Athough the site is best known for
producing Quaker Oats and Sugar Puffs (rebranded Honey Monster Puffs in 2014) various pet
foods and other products were also manufactured here.
Although it is austere it is a carefully designed building and aesthetics were of importance.
Great care has been taken to match the secondary ranges to the ‘house style’ of the original
building but there seems to have been no attempt to give the building pizzazz or make it
architecturally glamorous like the nearby Hoover Building. It is likely that the building was
designed to follow the style of other Quaker Oats factories in America.
The complex comprises a main processing range, a lower office range, a huge bank of grain
silos and various other warehouses. The interior of the multi-story mill is dominated at each
floor level by a grid of concrete columns, with mushroom shaped heads, forming a large open�plan space in which various processing and packaging operations took place. The site is
currently proposed for a major redevelopment which will see the demolition of all the buildings
on the site. The current programme of recording has been requested by the local authority and it
will document for posterity this large complex which has been a large local landmark for much of
the 20th century.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Greater London
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Buildings
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2022 10:57
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2022 10:57
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6208

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