On Friday, Solvay “tested” their air raid siren alarm, supposedly an implement to warn the general public about an emergency on the site such as a fire or release of chemicals.
This annual event receives much publicity in the preceding days, yet from the looks of some of the comments on social media, it seems as though many people are completely baffled as to what they are supposed to do if it is ever sounded. 😆
Famously of course, when there was such an incident in January 2009, Rhodia as they then were, were caught with their pants down and failed to sound this alarm to warn the public about the uncontrolled release of toxic gas following a fire, which went off site- namely phosphine. They claimed in The Health and Safety Executive report , released only as a result of this website’s efforts, that West Midlands Fire Service had told them not to, (wait for it), in case it panicked the public!
I approached Langley green with caution in the lead up to the sonic blast being sounded.
This station of course once had a private sidings leading into the Albright and Wilson works to deliver white phosphorus and chlorine- one of the main reasons why it limited new buildings in the immediate vicinity for decades.
A little further on in the turn to Station Street, the “quality” and “beautiful” homes being built just metres from this TOP TIER COMAH SITE are progressing nicely. I wonder what fools will eventually want to buy them? 😆
There appeared to be little evidence of any activity on the Solvay main carpark, built on top of the mill pool area around 1990. In years gone by, Albright and Wilson would put on a display of “training” with their special friends at West Midlands Fire Service, but I saw no such appliances anywhere in the area on this occasion.
There was however some steam or smoke coming from one of the plants.
Elsewhere from my vantage point it is clear that demolition works are proceeding a pace near to Trinity Street, the line that bisects the works into “topside” and “bottomside” that the local wigs called “the Oxford”- don’t ask me why, boring history lesson.
As the countdown began, I began to start filming the moment for posterity, and have to state that I had never actually heard the alarm first hand so didn’t really know what to expect. And then it came as I started to do the voiceover which speaks for itself…..
Solvay testing their alarm. A bit late as they don't sound it when there is a real toxic leak.
Posted by Rattlechain lagoon- What lies beneath on Friday, 4 October 2019
This air raid siren is a direct throwback to World War Two when Albright and Wilson were a Ministry Of Supply factory making phosphorus weapons such as the useless AW bombs.
I recall my Dad once saying to me on hearing this many years ago in a film “that’s a sound that I hope you never have to hear.” He was one of many children who was evacuated out of The West Midlands industrial areas during the war to the countryside to escape the blitz. Whereas some areas local to Oldbury were bombed , in West Bromwich, Tipton, and of course devastatingly in Coventry, the AW factory unfortunately wasn’t hit.
I’m sure this annual event brings back terrifying memories for many elderly people today still, particularly those who were children and saw the devastation that went with it. So why perpetuate this garbage into the 21st Century, and what do people of today even make of it, or know what they are supposed to do? There are no Anderson shelters at the bottom of the garden, and no need to switch out the lights.
Albright and Wilson for many years were happy to exaggerate their role in the war, with war dodgers like WB Albright poncing around with the rest of the works management in the 8th Worcestershire Home Guard. A WW2 unexploded bomb case exhumed in 1990 on the car park used to proudly hang in the reception area to the building , but Rhodia on their takeover decided to remove it. Perhaps the reminder of the woeful retreat of two World wars was too much to take for the monsieurs?
For some reason, Sandwell council were happy however to big up this event on their social media. No less than three posts on their facebook page warned of the alarm being sounded. They even plugged the private foreign owned company again filming a video outside the council house as a backdrop. But why?
I put a comment off this, with factual information about the 2009 incident, with a link to the HSE report and what Rhodia had claimed.
For some reason, the person in SMBC comms team in charge of social media removed this post, and for no valid reason whatsoever. It is true and accurate information, but appears to show what I alluded to in a previous post about censorship and attempting to gatekeep for this large industrial polluter. The Labourite/union links to this company in Sandwell and beyond run very deed, and they have become blinded by this , blocking all opposition and freedom of expression.
Their activists and supporters not only penetrate into “friends of” groups , but also local (selective) history groups and civic society groups, all pedalling the same bullshit as to how “great” Albright and Wilson were. Public funding has promoted this lie on the internet and in books, and it is a disgrace, but I will continue to provide all relevant links to expose this company so that their propaganda can be challenged. They are a dying force , and till the last one of them has croaked, either from the chemicals that they breathed in working for the said company or through old age, the memory of Albright and Wilson continues to be extinguished with every new day as to how irrelevant they really are to the area’s future.
I predict , that in the not too distant future, Solvay and the entire factory will close down and relocate abroad. It is on the cards. Their factory gets smaller and the workforce lighter every day. Perhaps that’s why they want to try to remind people of the war- implementing fear, solidarity and “community” from a different age when they “ran ” Oldbury.