WW2 saw the first dramatic change in refrigerated warehousing. The use of the pallet was developed for moving ammunition and other supplies and proved to be a very valuable tool for all types of product movement and storage. Lift trucks were also developed for the movement of heavy loads and subsequently to achieve better utilisation of storage space.
In 1941 forty three identical brick refrigerated cold stores constructed of low-cost Fletton-type bricks, around insulated steel frames were built by William Douglas and Sons for the Ministry of Food to house emergency meat and fish supplies. They were scattered around the country as part of an integrated system of food control, distribution, and handling. They were all located adjacent to main railway routes for ease of movement in and out of the stores. The sites selected were away from primary target areas with the exception of Wolverhampton and Aintree. Forty grain silos were built at the same time.
A cold store was built alongside the Harrogate - York railway line at Flaxby and was located to the rear of the Goldsborough passenger station. It was provided with a rail connection with two private sidings running either side of the 209ft X 141 ft brick monolith, and two reception loop sidings. An ARP signal box to control access to the cold store and goods yard was built at the rear of the eastbound passenger platform close to the station building. ARP signal boxes were built at strategic locations from the late 1930s in an attempt to ensure vital railway buildings remained operational during an air attack. They were designed to prevent blast damage rather than survive a direct hit and were built to a variety of different designs but many, like that at Goldsborough, had 14” thick brick walls, a reinforced concrete roof and thick concrete floors.
The cold stores continued to perform the same function during the early years of the cold war. The storage of food in the UK peaked in 1956 with some 750,000 tons held in various depots including the 43 massive government owned cold stores. That year however, their role was downgraded and their operation was handed over to contractors to operate, in the same way as buffer food depots. Although now commercial operations, the Ministry of Food rented space in some of the stores.
By 1961 there was seen to be no need to have emergency meat stocks and the sites were rented out as commercial cold stores with no strategic value.
In 1985 some of tthe cold stores were considered for use as Regional Government Control Centres although the Hexham area being designated as a Region 1 Sub Regional Control since 1964. Hexham was modified with the addition of a mezzanine floor becoming RGHQ 2.2 and Loughborough became RGHQ 3.2; both have now been demolished. The cold store at Llandudno Junction was considered for the RGHQ for North Wales but never used. Most however, including Goldsborough, continued in use as a commercial cold store. It was last occupied by Manton Transport Ltd. In 2009 a ‘to let’ was seen on the building. The cold store was demolished sometime after 2012 and the site is now appears to be occupied by an extension to the Flaxby distribution depot of William Morrison Produce Ltd, the Bradford based supermarket chain.
- Cold and Chilled Storage Technology Edited by Clive VJ Delliono. Blackie Academic & Professional 1990
- Struggle for Survival Steve Fox 2004
- Keith Ward