Tile company employee searches for story of ‘showpiece’ Swaffham factory

The Redland Roof Tiles site in Brandon Road, Swaffham.

The Redland Roof Tiles site in Brandon Road, Swaffham. - Credit: Archant

Did you work at Redlands Roof Tiles in Swaffham in the 80s or 90s?

The Redland Roof Tiles site in Brandon Road, Swaffham.

The Redland Roof Tiles site in Brandon Road, Swaffham. - Credit: Archant

A former inspector at the company is seeking out ex-employees to find out more about the derelict factory's history.

Graham Bartlett, 59, completed an engineering apprenticeship at the Redland Engineering manufacturing facility in Redhill, Surrey in 1978.

He worked for the company, which manufactures tiles for clients around the world, for 25 years at various sites around the UK.

In 1986, during his time as an inspector, he visited the Swaffham tile factory – which had been upgraded to become a flagship facility for Redland – to see how the tile making equipment manufactured in Surrey was put to use.

After moving to Narborough in 2009 he was keen to find out what had happened to the business – but was dismayed to find out it had stopped production 15 years earlier.

Mr Bartlett said: 'The Swaffham site was a showpiece tile works factory.

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'Then I found myself living in Norfolk and I was quite surprised to see the site had closed down.

'I found out recently it had a working life of less than 10 years, which seemed a bit strange,and I wanted to find out more.'

Since beginning his quest Mr Bartlett has set up a Facebook page for ex-Redland employees to make contact with each other again and share their memories of the site.

The Swaffham factory, on the Brandon Road industrial estate, was owned by the Essex Tile Company before it was bought by Redland in the late 1970s.

If you have any information about the Swaffham tile factory, contact Mr Bartlett on 01760 444296 or gbartlett87@btinternet.com.

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