Say the word ‘factory’ to anyone and it’ll likely conjure up images of a grimy, noisy manufacturing plant, but the Old West Gun Works couldn’t be further away from that archaic picture. Built in 1854 and named for the production of the huge gun barrels that took place within, it was originally part of the grand Thomas Firth and Brown complex, a key player both in Sheffield and the steel industry at large.
With the passing of the industrial revolution, the building eventually fell out of use. By the early 1990s it was in a state of total disrepair, and became classified as a ‘brownfield site’. In stepped Hugh Facey, the man with the vision, to restore the premises to something that not only matched its former glory, but exceeded it in every way. Gripple had found its home.
Completed in 1994, the renovation transformed the abandoned old building into our state-of-the-art manufacturing base, replete with a sweeping open plan office and cutting-edge machinery, both factors in our triumphant win of the ‘Best Factory’ award in 2004. The exposed brickwork, apex ceiling and steel girders are a constant reminder of the past, creating the perfect place to house ideas for the future.
As Gripple has expanded, we’ve needed additional homes for our blossoming company. Some, such as our sister company Loadhog’s headquarters, have been custom-designed from scratch, whilst our Blast Lane site was once another disused facility we have breathed life back into. And in 2008, a further refurbishment of our offices took place, as well as the development of our brand new I&I centre.