A sketch of Pine End near Lydney.
Unloading Barges, Pine End Works, Lydney 1971 - reproduced here by kind permission of the artist John Belcher.
John's drawing shows part of the Gantry Crane that was used to lift the logs from the barges and transport them over the road into the factory premises.
From publicity material issued in 1983:
"Pine End Works has provided employment for successive generations of Lydney and District residents for more than 40 years. Occupying a 14-acre site in Harbour Road, it was built by the government of the day in 1940 to manufacture technical aircraft and marine plywood for wartime requirements. The plant became part of the national network of "shadow factories" designed to carry on the war effort when installations in more vulnerable locations were destroyed by enemy action. To preserve secrecy the new factory was misleadingly designated "Factories Direction Ltd.", a name which persisted long after the end of the war by which time the plant had been taken on by two of the countries largest timber groups, William Mallison and Sons Ltd. and Gliksten Plywood Limited. A later reorganisation resulted in the name being changed to "Mallison-Denny (Lydney) Limited".
"Until the system became uneconomic and was replaced by road transportation, barges on the river Severn were used to import the factories' raw material, huge logs of West African hardwoods from the docks at Avonmouth to Lydney and then to the factories' own wharf".
"Pine End Works operates under 250,000 sq. ft. of covered space and is the largest sole surviving plywood factory in the United Kingdom. Until 1981 it also produced large quantities of decorative sliced veneer for the furniture and panel products industry. Today's products include marine plywood to British Standard Specifications in thickness ranges from 5 to 100 mm and sizes up to 40 ft by 10 ft. Plywood for the Admiralty, the Ministry of Defence, British Railways, bus and lorry manufacturers and boat builders is made to order. Machined, drilled and cut-to-size portions to very fine tolerances are a specialty. Film faced exterior grade boards with excellent wearing and painting properties are made as required for specific purposes as well as vinyl-on-chipboard panels to meet growing demand for fitted kitchens and furniture.
"Hydrobord" a chemically impregnated densified and compressed plywood was especially developed to meet a requirement for nuclear shielding in atomic power stations and is still produced today. Pine End's popular 'Par-K-Ply' pre-finished polished hardwood strip flooring retains its popularity and continues to be produced on the specialised machinery developed at the factory. 'Duripanel', a concrete based chipboard and versatile building material, is available form the works".
"Thus, Pine End works continues to develop and diversify to meet the changing needs of industry and commerce, whilst retaining a steady production of its basic material, high quality, exterior grade plywood. From its early days of producing panels for for use in the Mosquito Fighter-bomber and troop carrying gliders to a recent requirement to supply 3-inch thick rubber and grit surfaced plywood for the refurbishment of Tower Bridge, Pine End Works continues its role as one of Lydney's most stable employers. The firm is currently part of the Brooke-Bond Group of companies".
D. Keith Wilks added (April 2011): "... on June 27th 1941 the first piece of plywood was produced at Lydney. It was cut into about 10 pieces. Each was signed and dated by the works manager B. Strebinger I still have my piece".
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