Tales of the Urban Explorer: Melba Products

Slobberchops @slobberchops
· June 2019 · 5 min read · United Kingdom · #urbex

From what I can gather the former location of Melba Products used to be a plastics factory. This was in 2006 before an unfortunate fire burned the place down.

6,000 traffic cones went up in flames and I’m sure this contributed to the abandonment of the building and the following decay that was going to happen.


Tack Lea Works begin life as a dye works, transitioning at around 1872 to a waste mill involved in the bleaching of cotton waste. The building was used as a bleach work by the mid-1890s and has been modified and expanded extensively in the on almost 200 years since it was established.

A week before our explore I scouted the place out. @goblinknackers was on holiday and I really didn't fancy doing a solo explore.

It's a little father than usual and the wrong way but all indications I found made it look accessible.


Melba Products and Tack Lea Works was very easy to find and view-able from the main road.

There was some bloke kicking about and signs saying ‘Very Dangerous Site’ but I could see an easy way in. I bookmarked it for a visit a week later and left.


One Week Later

We pulled up and parked on the main road and looked at what was Melba Products and Tack Lea Works.


A scramble across some dense woodland brought us to the front of this forlorn looking property. Besides a house with overlooking windows, I felt we were quite safe from busybodies.

The building looks old in one sense and also new with some corrugated iron roofing closer to the front.


Working methodically, we started on the extreme left of the mass of different shaped buildings and noticed nature had really taken over most of the insides.



You can see that this is not an old stone building but something built in the last 40 years.



The roof had held up better than what we were about to see in other parts of the ‘works’.


Despite my thirst, I declined to take a drink from this rust sodden pipe and its brown sludge.



The back areas of Tack Lea works contains brickwork that looks much older and sports an old chimney.

Was Melba Products the company that owned Tack Lea Works?

Finding information about this place is not easy, but this seems to indicate that this is the case.





There was plenty of evidence of old machinery, parts and electric sockets some of it containing heavy rust.





Tempted though I was, neither of us felt it a good idea to climb these steps. Having several rungs missing was not inspiring me much to have a look.


It’s always great when you can find something like this. Approved operators for a saw. There was no sign of the tool anywhere.




Some parts where more overgrown than others. Having little roof doesn't really help stop the vegetation spreading.







Graffiti was prevalent throughout especially in the building on the far right.


Evidence of machinery, any idea what this is or was?



There is electricity here, or could be. This substation building is right next to Tack Lea works and is in obvious working condition. It looks new!




Continuing past the power station we walked around the back of Tack Lea works to the old part of the once was factory. You can see the huge chimney poking out in the distance.



I stuck my head up the chimney but apart from a wall about to collapse on me, there was little to see. It was also very dark, chimneys usually are.



We headed to the front of Melba Products and noticed the sign on the wall; you can barely make out what it says.


Look at the private parking spots for directors and important people at the front of the building.


Before departing we noticed a hole in the wall and went down to investigate. Besides this crock pot and mounds of old junk, we saw little else, but around the corner, we finally saw some evidence of what the company made.


Plastic and lots of it.


Melba Products was not the most exciting place to visit, but it’s not going to be there much longer.


There is a big sign stating new homes are going to be built. It’s just as well we got in there before all this horrible decay is lost forever



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What a great tour around a ruin which was once a big company. Good you could share this before WOODSIDE took over! Thanks

Yes, it's not going to be there much longer.

Bozz @bozzJune 2019

Another great exploration. Just curious what you are really hoping for on these? Like what could you find that would have you be like oh man, that was the best explore ever! I think these have all been really great and I am just curious what types of things you specifically are looking for.

It's a good question @bozz and can only be answered once you do one. The first one in Malta got me all interested.

It's unique photography, being non conformist, the danger element, being somewhere you shouldn't be... all these add to the experience.

Some are challenging... like.. 'how do we get in?' It's not always possible but I'm always up for a little climbing if necessary.

hi @bozz, good question I raised this with @slobberchops on this very jaunt as I saw he was taking pictures of the graffiti, something that doesn't really interest me very much. For me its the experience, and also seeing something from the time, maybe gives a date and a person and story, … one of the places we saw a letter from 1984 or something, .. the church we visited still had copies of the bible - I noticed a few of them had folded over pages where a certain verse must have meant something to someone. I also saw picture frame with the name of the pastor on it which I later when back and googled, … for me its about the people who left these places in time and the original touches which can make you think 'I wonder what his/her story was' …… I tried to explain it the best I can :-)

Bozz @bozzJune 2019

That makes sense to me. Did you go back and Facebook stalk all of the approved users of the Dewalt circular saw? :) I know it is always exciting when you can go back and find something from years ago. I feel like we just came across an old newspaper the other day and it was hard to believe the year it was from...

The Woodside? Is that like developers here? Name the damn place after what used to be here? We get crap like fox hollow (or god save me, Fox Pointe) or Quail Hills or some such. Named for what got taken away....

Pretty nice look see. It actually looks like they did a good job of cleaning up when they left. Or maybe they covered up the residual real well?

That overhead pipe with two 90 degree bends in it makes me about 2/3 crazy just looking at it. I'd have never been able to work there....

The Woodside? Is that like developers here?

I would guess so, we were lucky to get in before it got demolished.

That overhead pipe with two 90 degree bends in it makes me about 2/3 crazy just looking at it. I'd have never been able to work there....

I guess nobody has since the fire. Melba Products are still trading but under a different name now. The production of Traffic Cones gave it away.


What a cool find. I love coming across abandoned buildings, especially if there is some sort of story behind how it came to be that way. I recall visiting the Dominican Republic and one of my favorite parts of the trip was this enormous abandoned resort - i just imagined what it was like during the good times (like the scenes in the Titanic) film.

Those pics kind of made my day and normally a post like this would get a tl;dr from me.... but i read all of it!

this enormous abandoned resort

Sounds like heaven... though the wife would not agree! Most places here are old mills... full of history, dank damp and dark.

I do these every week, for as long as I can find new ones. They keep you on the edge, you never know what monsters are lurking within.

A: What was the quarantine about?

B: How has somebody not dropped pot seeds all over that place?

The box with the fan could be a curing kiln?

B: How has somebody not dropped pot seeds all over that place?

We went into one a few weeks ago that was used as Cannabis farm... could be they were planning to expand?

Freedom has a way of popping up everywhere.

Some of the places you visit look dangerous. Have you ever been hurt or had any close calls?

Thankfully not yet, though I have stood on things that were in danger of collapsing... such as wooden floors. You can usually see it if you have decent danger sense.

Funny right before the last shot of the coming homes, I was thinking the land must be of some value, why dont they tear it down and sure enough they are. Nature was doing her part as well!

Funny to see how things change when there are no people around...Awesome report of this former factory !!

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Nature soon reclaims these places, but it looks like humans will be back soon. No doubt more soulless modern houses with tiny gardens. 'bespoke luxury' could mean anything.

When I saw that sign on my scout... it was... yikes! we better do this one quick!