Rise and fall



The post war account of Albright and Wilson is taken up by Hugh Podger in the second book on the company. “After the 1939-45 war, a period of major expansion for Albright and Wilson had begun. The production of materials for munitions ceased and the former carpet factories that had been taken over for that purpose were no longer required. “

The companies main expansion came in phosphate detergents and silicones.

According to Podger, by 1950 the Oldbury site occupied 50 acres.

“It included a phosphorus plant and plants for the manufacture of phosphoric acid (by burning phosphorus), food and detergent phosphates, phosphates for water treatment, phosphorus oxychloride, hypophosphites, and other derivatives of phosphorus.” They also had sub companies within the plant which continued match production, phosphide flares and oil additives (organic phosphorus derivatives).

He continues “The buildings at Oldbury were mainly old, brick-built (and therefore inflexible) and congested. The works had a reputation for fumes and smells, especially those emitted by the phosphorus furnaces and from phosphorus-sulphur compounds produced in the oil additives plant and the Malathion insecticide plant.”

It is quite clear from the scale of production and limited surroundings why the company required a waste disposal site, and one outside the works area. Swanwatch have researched the planning history of the Trinity Street works which is highly relevant to the understanding of the waste stream that would have been produced, including decommissioned plant and scrap machinery that such developments would have created. This is not something that the Health Protection Agency considered in their Human Health risk assessment, even though it is publicly held information. This account runs in decade chronological order.

Firstly we consider the manufacture of the main chemical of concern in this study- the poisoner of wildfowl at Rattlechain lagoon- toxic white phosphorus.