Rattlechain Lagoon (or mere) is a chemical Hazardous waste lagoon located in Tividale, Oldbury,Sandwell West Midlands near Birmingham.
Rattlechain lagoon was originally a clay pit created by Samual Barnett to supply materials for his Rattlechain & Stour Valley Brickworks. On September 9th 1899 the nearby Birmingham Canal New Mainline burst its banks, and this “water leak” flooded the clay pit to a depth of 300’. In the 1940’s, Albright and Wilson obtained the use of the pit as a waste disposal facility. They were a military contractor during World War Two producing white phosphorus based weapons. For the next 32 years the company tipped industrial waste into the pit – all totally unregulated and unrecorded. It is this toxic legacy which defines it as “a hazardous waste site.”
What “lies” beneath the water is a long story of denials, deceptions and a stain on the local area.
Rattlechain lagoon is a few hundred metres from Tipton Road (A457). It is surrounded by two legs of the Birmingham Canal, the Dudley Canal, and the Gower Branch Canal. It is a scant 60m from one arm of the Birmingham Canal. The River Tame runs past, about 150m away. Newtown Primary School is 500m away. The industrial units located nearby are giving way to new housing estates. The garden fences of some houses on Callaghan and Wilson Drives are within 20m of the lagoon.
Rattlechain lagoon is located in the middle of a heavily populated town . It is within the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough near Birmingham. The actual location is off Johns Lane in Tividale, Oldbury, West Midlands, National Grid reference S0 974 913. It also together with the chemical factory at large that supplied it within the parliamentary constituency of WEST BROMWICH WEST. The area is recognised as one of the most deprived in the country, and this has been linked to polluted areas in Britain.
The site is visited by birds and waterfowl, including swans, geese and ducks. Foxes and domestic cats visit the site.
Rattlechain Lagoon is known to contain several tonnes of white phosphorus, as well as other highly toxic chemicals.
We will attempt to tell its long story, (warts and all) , and record the changes that have and will take place on the site in the coming years.
Look at the map. Zoom out and see where it is.