Chatterley Whitfield (Former Colliery)

Area Shaft Building #23

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    Brittain Adams

    The FabLab, Makesite and Factory that makes factories.

    Area Shaft

    This building was last used by a shaft maintenance team who concerned themselves with the upkeep of shafts for mines for many miles are Chatterley Whitfield.

    The building metal frame is in good condition and it has cranes and a lift.

    Some attempt has been made by the friends to ensure a quality electric supply to this building and both the building owner (Stoke City Council) and the Friends group see this as the next logical step.

    However the last view from the council who would look at it as another rental opportunity is that it would cost £1.9m to refurbish and that it would be difficult to recoup through rental.

    In time this building will become the engine for the sustainability for the whole site it will become one of the Largest if not the Largest maker space in the country, it will have three elements.


    There are over 700 FabLabs around the world these have a number of different funding mechanisms, and governance models.

    The Manufacturing Institute in Manchester has been responsible for setting these up in the UK they have just opened one part funded by Trafford Council in Altrincham. They provide a space for people to come and collaborate on design using CAD CNC and additive manufacturing techniques.

    The cost for this was £480,000 for a three year project with the expectation that it will be self funding.

    Looking at their figures two things become apparent, this can be done for much less than £480,000 and ours would not be self funding after three years.

    The Elsmere port Fablab did not become self funding based in a similar demographic to our site. But what has been learnt from that and the Manchester Fab Lab becomes central to our success.

    Essentially the previous spaces are two small and they can only make limited production runs of small items, also they lack of metal working facilities and an office based mentality with carpets in the machine rooms. Limited the success, and example of other Fablab who make buildings and cars offer more of what we could attain in this building.

    However a lot of good things came from the Manchester and Ellesmere Port Fab Labs and much of the standardisation would be retained.


    The makesite is a more commercial extending of the fablab idea, small workspaces can be constructed, much in the same way that the cement factory in Sheffield (##need detail##)

    The Factory2

    This is the factory that makes factories, modelled on a building (PVH Engineering) two miles away that used to make all the production lines and process equipment for the potteries.

    The outputs of the Fablab and Makesite would be focused on making manufacturable goods on small production lines, which would either be moved out to other buildings on the site or to empty factories outside. Making space for the next factory.

    PVH employed 200 people in a building this size in 1970 modern making would not be labour intensive , in fact only 200 to 300 people could be employed at the site in total. As most of the miners were employed below ground (which is now flooded) to achieve anything like the 5000 new jobs we need an amplifier that is what the factory that makes factories is.

    So if we take the £1.9m plus the .5m for a fablab and other amounts we can estimate £2.2m total cost for this building.

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