Friday, 30 March 2012

When I first visited the Innocenti factory site the new road in the previous shot was not yet finished; you can see the borders for it in the right hand shot taken during construction. Next to the Innse water tower was this old building with railway tracks running through it, obviously a loading shed for incoming parts and outgoing finished machines. There was a branch line running from the factory through Lambrate to the main line near Lambrate FS and you can still see some evidence of it today. Lambretta scooters were apparantly shipped to the UK by this method and parts for Innocenti cars (based on BMC models) were shipped back from the UK.  Not my photos, provinence is unknown to me.

The same building from the other end showing the new caps on the roof, the old Innse water tower and another new road cutting the old factory into smaller and smaller pieces.

Monday, 26 March 2012

By the time I arrived back at the Innocenti factory site in November 2011 a new roof was in place on the old Innse building. This building is the second one to the right of the freeway in the Google Maps shot. There were men working on the roof and quite a few cars parked in the carpark. INNSE had indeed returned home. When I got home to Melbourne I found this on net . Amazing to see the old factory back in use and the Innocenti logos on some of the machinary.

Changes at Innse. Old Innse Presse sign (left) on the front gate had been replaced by November 2011 with a new one (right). I have seen people working at the old Innse building within the old Innocenti factory complex a few times over the years (and no, you are not supposed to be standing where I am to take the photo in the centre and I was chased out a few seconds later!). I always wondered what they were doing working in an abandoned site. I thought they might just be making it safe but no.......

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Innocenti was not only about the Lambretta. The company was a giant industrial complex consisting of 3 main divisions - the Scooter division which we all know and love, the manufacture of cars under license from BMC (later British Leyland) and a heavy engineering division. After the split up of the business the heavy engineering divsion was renamed INNSE (Innocenti Sant'Eustacchio) and continues to this day. Note the Innocenti logo on the large machine in the right hand photo. INNSE has passed through a few hands and now seems to be owned by the Camozzi Group.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

This model of the Innocenti Factory is on display at Vittorio Tessera's museum in Rodano near Milano. Not exactly as the real thing ended up but gives you a good idea of the scale. The river Lambro flows through the middle and this is where the freeway now cuts through, over the river. The shot on the right is the same model in what appears to be the Innocenti boardroom. Judging by the Lambretta TV175 S1 I would put this at around 1957.
Google map image showing the Lambrate area with the railway station in the top left. The city centre is off to the left and the freeway that cut the old Innocenti site in 2 can be clearly seen in the middle. The four long buildings on the right of the freeway show the scale of the place and that was just half of it. The building above the locating A and the one to it's right were demolished just before I visited in Nov 2011 - they were still taking away the bulldozers when I got there. They will be replaced by appartments if the GFC doesn't get them first!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Innse water tower still standing at the old Lambretta factory but is now heavily covered in graffiti. This is the beacon that allowed me to find the factory the first time around. I set out on foot from Piazza Duca with only a map and some vague old memories about where the factory stood and no idea if anything remained. I made it to the train station (Lambrate FS) OK but took a wrong turn. I walked out of town, under the freeway and was heading into the countryside when I saw the tower standing tall out of the fog which carpets Lombardia in November. Setting off across a farmer's field, I was chased off by a dog, his owner and a long arm rifle! So I walked the long way around!