The main industrial link to the River Tame here are the chemical industries (yellow on map) that lined the brook, and often their chemical waste found its way into the water. In the early 1920s the newly formed Tame Basin Joint Committee noted that Chance and Hunt Ltd had released chlorine, liquid waste "with large amounts of suspended matter", as well as some of the 70,000 gallons daily production of ammoniacal liquors, containing sulphocyanide and phenols and sulphur as thiosuphate.* These chemical industries also produced mounds of waste known locally as 'Blue Billy', formed from calcium sulphate, used making salt-cake, that turned from white to blue-grey. Run-off from these mounds would often get into the Tame, turning the water yellow and making it smell like rotten eggs.** All this was sent downstream.
The mounds of 'Blue Billy' were removed in the 1960s to make way for the M5 motroway.
We will be adding posts about:
Chance & Hunt Chemical Works
Oldbury Pollution of the Tame
Oldbury Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd.
Bromford Mill and Bromford Iron & Steel Works
|Rural Oldbury in the 1920s with a glimpse of nearby industry|
through the trees.
History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley
* Tame Basin Joint Committee records (June 1923-June 1927) at Wolverhampton Archive & Local History Centre (CMB-BIL/14/1/Box 42/unmarked)
** Janet Sullivan: Janet has recently completed a PhD about industry in Oldbury.