Albright’s toxic archive links #5- Sleepless in Handsworth

Hot on the heels of how the continuing “Oldbury smell” had tainted chocolate in Birmingham come yet more newspaper articles from the brilliant British newspaper archive. In the report below from the Birmingham Post of 4th December 1957.

This appears to tie in several threads-

  • The confederacy of apologist Alderman Melsom
  • The old “new equipment” line used before
  • The tainting of the chocolate
  • Trying to claim that the waste chemicals of the process would be “dumped at sea”.

Dump it under water in barrels

A subsequent letter however from the following year in the same paper suggests that this plan did not appear to work. The Handsworth correspondent in the 13th May 1958 article wrote;


Sleepless from Handsworth makes some interesting points about the “vile fumes” and potential links to lung cancer and public health. Perhaps he or she should have tried to count cats instead of sheep.

But with people like Melsom in charge of health in the rotten borough of Oldbury, what chance of any real investigation into that? Melsom and co would just be looking to get the problem out of their borough, and I have absolutely no doubt that Rowley Regis provided that opportunity.

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