Hoping for a positive chemical reaction

ICI Grangemouth in the past
ICI Grangemouth in the past

Friends of Grangemouth ICI, as the organisers are known, are looking to hold the event in April and want former ICI employees to get in touch to take part.

Maureen Burns, who is a member of the Grangemouth Heritage Trust, worked at the world famous Earls Road site from 1970 to 2002.

She said: “It seems like only yesterday ICI owned the large and historic chemical manufacturing site on the western edge of Grangemouth. In fact next year it will be 25 years since ICI departed the town – although the site continues to operate today under a number of new owners.

“These include Syngenta, Calachem, Earls Gate Park, Fujifilm and Pirimal Health, and previously Zeneca, Avecia and Kemfine.

“It is also five years since Friends of Grangemouth ICI organised the last informal reunion dinner for all former ICI employees who had at one time worked at the Earl’s Road site or still worked there.

“Next year’s reunion will be a great opportunity to get together with old friends, swap reminiscences and stories and once again renew old acquaintances with former colleagues while enjoying an excellent meal.”

This second reunion is booked to take place at the Inchyra Hotel on Friday, April 28 from 7pm.

John Blackie, a former site manager at the Earls Road facility, wrote a book, 90 Years on the Earls Road, in 2009 which detailed the rich history of the site in words and photographs.

John said: “I’m quite familiar with the site. It’s strange to think that the ICI, one of the biggest British chemical companies in the 20th century no longer exists at all. Of course the social club was just as much of a landmark with the pitches and grounds being used for hockey, football and bowling.

“We hope to get people who worked at the site from the 1960s right up to this century, but we are not excluding anyone if they worked at the ICI even earlier than that. I estimate that around 4000 people have worked at the site since 1919.

“The trouble is there is no list of workers at the site and people moved around so much. A lot of people may be out of the area, but there must be some who still live locally.”

ICI owned the site from 1928 to 1993 building on the foundations of the colour dyestuff manufacturing which commenced in 1919 and expanding into pigments, agrochemicals, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

At its peak the site employed over 2000 and was second only to the oil industry as Grangemouth’s most significant industry, becoming a major contributor to the life of the local community.

ICI itself, once the largest chemicals group in Britain, no longer exists after being taken over by a Dutch company in 2007.

Those who are interested in attending the April 28 reunion should contact Maureen on (01324) 666603 or e-mailmpburns@blueyonder.co.uk for more details.