Gray, Dunn & co. Biscuit Factory, October 2013

Written by  on October 1, 2013 

We explored the Gray, Dunn & Co. factory after a frustrating morning of failure at another site. (I won’t say where because I’m still hoping to go back and explore it some day, but I can say that our first experience there involved walking miles to try and get to it, realising we’d come in from the wrong direction, walking all the way back to the car, driving round to the other side, walking miles from that side, very nearly getting to the place, then being seen by a security guard at the last minute and having to give up and walk back to the car again. All this after a nearly three hour drive to get there in the first place. Grrr). But thankfully the factory more than lived up to my expectations and it turned out to be a very good day’s exploring overall.

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The Gray, Dunn & Co. factory was originally built on this site in the Kinning Park area of Glasgow in 1862, however it was extensively reconstructed later on after being partially destroyed by a fire in the late 19th century. It continued to produce Gray and Dunn’s traditional biscuits and caramel wafers until the company was taken over by Rowntree’s in 1978. Rowntree’s was in turn taken over by Nestle a decade later and the factory was by this time producing Nestle products, including Kit Kats, Blue Ribands and custard creams.

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The factory finally closed in 2001 and has been derelict ever since. A massive building, 6 storeys high in places, it’s built around a central yard, right next to the busy M8 motorway. Following years of vandalism and decay, most of the windows are now broken and the yard is strewn with rubble that once formed parts of the walls.

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Inside, the building is mostly empty now. Huge rooms with bare concrete floors and numerous pillars stretched off into the distance in front of us.

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In places, relics of the building’s past use can still be seen. A few large red Avery weighing machines were still there, and a list of contact numbers for factory staff was taped to a pillar.

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On the top level we were greeted by the strange sight of a lone computer workstation, complete with swivel chair, in the middle of a vast and otherwise empty room.

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Some of the graffiti on the walls was rather impressive, especially this item, which I thought looked like a cross between Gollum and an alien.

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We found a number of (mostly open!) lift shafts, devoid of their lift cars, but with the cables, pulleys and motors still in place.

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On our visit we were fortunate enough to be able to access the entire factory, including the roof. Standing on top looking out over Glasgow and watching 15 lanes of traffic thundering by on the motorway was the highlight of the day for me.

Many more photos (as if there weren’t enough on this page!) on my flickr.

Comments

30 Responses

  1. r. adlington says:

    so thats why we cant get gray dunns plain caramal wafers any more, they were adictive and i still keep looking for them but dont find any.

    • Michael says:

      When my wife was pregnant years ago I could not get enough of them wish I could get them again the last time I bought them going back a few years from B&M

  2. ASQUICKFALL says:

    We live in the Algarve and buy Tunnocks caramel wafers from our local Iceland. They are identical to gray dunns wafers.

    • Mark Schulze says:

      There is a slight difference,Tunnocks Caramel Wafers dont have a layer of vanilla cream that Gray Dunn used to have.
      I used to work as a Technologist for one of their competitors in the 70’s and my brief was to copy Gray Dunn Wafers.

  3. Keith Bell says:

    Also the Gray Dunn biscuit did not have chocolate all over it. The old biscuit tasted much better.

  4. Rita Carlson says:

    I tired to remember the name of the caramel biscuits I enjoyed as a child in Canada. Then I remembered…Grey Dunn. Too bad that they are no longer available, however, I just tried Tunnocks caramel wafers and they are not too bad a substitute.

  5. Steve Davison says:

    Grey Dunn caramel waifers were so special I would get a whole packet to myself for Christmas!!.

  6. K Cope says:

    Who remembers the TV advert? As I remember it…

    “Caramel wafers by Gray Dunn, crunchy treat for everyone. Caramel wafers, simply heaven, twelve for only one and seven. Caramel wafers by Gray Dunn, crunchy treat for everyone”.

    Obviously pre-decimalisation in 1971 but probably much earlier!

  7. C Symmonds says:

    Tunnocks are no where near as good as Gray Dunn. Apart from the unnecessary chocolate there is less caramel and the absence of the vanilla layer makes them disappointing.

  8. Eileen says:

    I have a photo of my granny taken with fellow workers at grey Dunn don’t know the year maybe 1920’s would love to share it.

  9. Connie says:

    Hi there, these photos are brilliant! I’m looking for a site just like one of the rooms here and wondered what access was like? Any security issues? Thanks 🙂

    • gcat says:

      Hi. No idea what getting in is like these days I’m afraid. It’s almost 3 years since I was in there and it’s changed a lot in the meantime – a large part of it has been demolished, so the way in we used wouldn’t work anymore.

  10. Mello-Jello says:

    I am here today in what’s left of the building! Not sure how to get ti the upper levels though :/ Any tips?

    • gcat says:

      No idea, I’m afraid… it was easy enough to get to the main stairwell when we were there, but that was 3 years ago and before the demolition started, so I guess things will have changed since.

  11. Mello-Jello says:

    Whereabouts were the stairwells when you were last here?
    I am considering climi the scaffolding but I feel it is a bit risky with a tote bag full of camera equipment.

  12. Calum Paterson says:

    Is there to contact you? I am looking for some information and I think you might be able to help me.

  13. Elaine McGuinness says:

    Gray Dunn Caramel Wafers, make a cuppa go down a treat. I could even sing it, but no one would want to hear it.

  14. charles nichols says:

    Do you remember this jingle?

    “What makes a nice cuppa nicer?
    What makes a cuppa complete?
    Grey Dunn’s caramel wafers
    make a cuppa go down a treat!”

  15. Walter says:

    Is Grey Dunn now now longer?
    Does anybody make a similar caramel wafer?
    Because Tunnock,s just don’t measure up

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