Tyne and Wear HER(3519): Gateshead, Tyne Alkali Works/Allhusen's Chemical Works - Details
Gateshead, Tyne Alkali Works/Allhusen's Chemical Works
During the 1820s Charles Attwood established a glass works on the South Shore at Salt Meadows. In 1825 he obtained a licence to build a staith and in 1834 he added other buildings including a sawmill. Attwood's holdings were bought by Christain Allhusen in 1840, and a new period of expansion began. In 1841 the premises of nearby soap makers were added, and the new concern was advertised as manufacturing "soap, alkali, Glauber Salts and Epsom Salts". Christain Allhusen was joined by his son Wilton and his nephew Alfred in 1862 and 1866 respectively, and in 1872 the successful Newcastle Chemical Works Company was launched. By this time the Works had been running as an Alkali Plant utilising the Leblanc process. By 1891 the largest section was that devoted to the manufacture of sulphuric acid, but much space was also devoted to the preparation of caustic soda. In 1895 the Works site covered 137 acres and employed 1,200 men. In 1891 it was taken over by the United Alkali Company and production concentrated on caustic soda. The Ordnance Survey map of 1916 shows the extent of the chemical works working at record outputs furint World War One, when nerve gases including phosgene were produced there. Allhusen's also incorporated an armaments filling factory and had its own sawmill and cooperage. By 1916 there were approximately 2000 workers. In 1926 the works became part of Imperial Chemical Industries and the Gateshead Works were run down. By 1927 most of the works were re-let as small factories and garages. Demolition continued from 1930 to 1932. The estimated two million tonne spoil heap to the south-east of what was Allhusen's was still smouldering in 1951. Operations to extract lime from it began in 1953, continuing into 1963, the land recovered being incorporated in East Gateshead Riverside Park.
<< HER 3519 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 3 Environment Technology Consultants Ltd, 1995, Site Investigation of Felling Riverside; F. Atkinson, 1980, North East England - People at Work 1860-1950; University of Newcastle upon Tyne Department of Extra-Mural Studies, 1961, The Old Tyneside Chemical Trade, chapter XIV, pages 39-41