It is almost uniformly agreed, even amongst the shills and apologists of this longstanding industrial polluter that Albright and Wilson stank and pumped forth pollution so bad in terms of smell that it resembled the odour of cat piss.
I have recently been delving into The British newspaper archive cuttings to research some of this companies greatest (s)hits which were Made in Oldbury– and this is the first in a continuing series and it isn’t going to be arty- farty poems or rose tinted romantic views of past events.
This one is a classic from The Birmingham post and gazette –Wednesday July 3rd 1957 entitled “Withered Leaves of Oldbury Victims of ‘smell’ “
It details the sight of a Mrs E.M Gunn, a local councillor and resident flaunting and waving her withered bush in front of the then Oldbury Town Council. 😛
Not mentioned is what effect it may have had on blighting or shrivelling her fellow councillor husband Alf’s taters. 🙁
But this is no laughing matter and is actually a very rare example of a local Labour councillor of this area actually committing veritable heresy and standing up to the industrial polluters- (perhaps in context as she lived across the street in Titford Road) and noted “The pollution of the atmosphere at Langley has become unbearable.”
“At 8.30 this morning it was impossible to see across the road. We were enveloped in a cloud of fog.” she continued.
Incredibly but not surprisingly she was told by Albright and Wilson management that it would continue every four hours until the wind changed direction! Well some comfort there then, but not that different from the Trinity Street terrors failure to sound toxic gas alarms more recently.
She then whipped out the dying tree from her garden, though the variety is not named.
“If it does this to the trees, what does it do to us”?
This is not the first time I have heard this about pollution killing plants coming from an Albright and Wilson source as well as leaving holes in net curtains.
Mrs Gunn further spoke about Langley having “no choice” but to put up with the situation and that the council had “dilly-dallied” long enough.
Supporting her observations about the “appalling” situation at the committee were Councillors Thompson and Price.
We do however get the considered 🙄 opinion of the health committee chairman Alderman S.T Melsom– almost straight from the type of PR spin machine that I recognise today about how the council was liaising with the firm and offering some distant prospect of a new plant (not a living one) being installed at the site.
I will be taking a closer look at this individual and his involvement in the area in another post.