Voeders Van Simaey – Leroy
THE ABANDONED CATTLE FOOD FACTORY IN BELGIUM
This is the silo tower of the Van Simaey-Leroy cattle food company in Gavere. They were built in 1929 and abandoned almost 80 years later.
The buildings are a typical example of the concrete silo construction during the interwar period. With its 29 silos, this tower belongs to the larger silo towers from this period. The silos were built in 1930 for ‘Van Simaey Broeders en Zuster’ to provide food for the chicken farm they owned. The factory was built by ‘Construction Industrielle’, a construction company from Aalst. The tower was the central point of the site and the pride of the company. This iconic image was often used in corporate communication and publicity.
The location of the factory near the Scheldt river was ideal for new, better and more efficient grain supply options. A train track was built for the factory, new machines and silos were installed and warehouses were built.
The animal feed business was an important branch of industry for Gavere since the 1920s up to the end of the 20th century. In 1970 the Van Simaey company was taken over by the three brothers Silvaan, Hugo and Willy Leroy. The production was changed to pig and cattle feed under the new owners. Because of the modernization, the factory was thoroughly rebuilt and expanded.
Hugo Leroy sold his shares to his two brothers in the year 2000. Seven years later, Silvaan got out and sold his shares to ‘Dobbels Quality‘ from Pittem. In 2008 the owners offered the outdated company for sale. The 18 employees were employed at other Dobbels factories. The iconic tower is protected in 2012, the surrounding buildings were demolished in 2019, the tower is transformed into lofts. I visited this factory in 2017.