Captain Ahab on the chain

I have always been a big fan of the website “Captain Ahab’s watery tales”. It is probably the best canal blog around, packed with local history information about lost arms of the BCN canal network and beyond. I have used some of the information as a guide to my own research into the areas affected by Albright and Wilson’s operations when the waste from their factory was transported by barge to rattlechain lagoon.

“Captain Ahab” , AKA Andy Tidy has also produced several videos on youtube which show through illustration and reconstruction what is left of some of the lost waterways today.

The purpose of this post is to showcase a very relevant video post about the chemical arm and “The Oldbury Loop” -which strongly mentions the transport of the phosphorus toxic waste and the journey it took along the canal.

Andy visits both the entrance to the Houghton Arm, and stops along the way at key points, and his final destination is everyone’s favourite toxic waste dump.  😛

It is at least refreshing to know that I am not the only person who has come to the logical conclusion that building new houses next to a site such as this is very questionable. Andy is far more articulate than myself in summarising the situation, so if you do not wish to plough through the mish mash jigsaw puzzle of content I have put on  this website to uncover the past misdemeanours , you could do no better than watching this video to demonstrate what I am trying to say, in just many fewer words,  😆


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Captain Ahab on the chain

Do panic Captain Mainwaring!


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.

All quiet on the Western Front

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…..

do panic captain mainwearing!

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do panic Captain Mainwaring!

Albright’s toxic archives #21 Enriching Radioactive dusts- and the truth

Here are two very contrasting stories which tells you all that you need to know about Albright and Wilson the company and the chemical industry at large.

This relates to the decommissioning of the Portishead site near Bristol, where P4 was manufactured in the 1950’s and 1960’s. More about this coming very soon…..

It is alleged that Albright and Wilson began this process after 1972 when phosphorus production finally switched to the Longharbour plant in Newfoundland, that had been an unmitigated disaster due to pollution and plant problems. This had led to both the Oldbury and Portishead plants being restarted and continued for many extra months. Some of the scrap and phosphorus waste from the Portishead site presumably went into their satellite waste dump in Strode Road in Clevedon, but I’m not convinced that it all went there.

The following powder puff piece from the fairy story company magazine “Albright World” – (which was never a “bright” one with them in it) describes a factory visit by some taken in professor with a group of students. He is stated as praising their “environment ‘openness’ ” –WHAT A PILE OF BOLLOCKS! 

Quoted is serial AW spin doctor and former Oldbury Works manager Peter “Dr phosphorus” Bloore , a man who once told me that the material in rattlechain lagoon was “the stuff used in toothpaste”.


GLOWING with praise

Several claims are made within this magazine chemical fabrication, which I believe to be dated around the very early 1990’s, in a post Chernobyl world.

“The controlled” decommissioning … “involves decontamination of phosphorus and radioactive residues by employees and specialist contractors.”

“Dismantling and decontamination of the phosphorus furnaces, Peter explained actually started in 1972 , and most of the buildings have been removed.”

Bloore claims that the site would be restored to the condition it was in before Albright and Wilson started phosphorus production there, and that this would inspire residential development following sampling and monitoring. All a very neat precis and actually a complete pile of doctored PR bollocks.

If we rewind the clock a little earlier, here is what The Sandwell Evening Mail reported on 15th July 1989 “MIDLAND FIRM IS FINED ….FOR ALLOWING RADIOACTIVE DUST TO BLOW AROUND A DOCKSIDE SITE.” 

Albright and Wilson were fined £10,000 for their environmental failures at Portishead.

Albright and Wilson admitted five offences under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Phosphorus production dangerously enriches radioactive nuclides, as the study below shows. 


The issue was that the  material that they were handling was to recover phosphorus from the waste, but which instead they ended up enriching causing radiation danger to those workers and also the general public. This was a failure to adhere to regulations, and a health and safety failure in process.

This was small change for Albright and Wilson, but shows up the lying spin in Albright World for what it was- entirely to dupe their workers and make them believe that they were working for a company that cared about their health- the one that admitted five offences under the very Act designed to protect them! There is also the fact that Albright and Wilson had another site at the Gower Tip in Tividale which stated on application for site licencing that “some radioactive wastes” had been deposited there.

Neither the SL31 licence- Rattlechain or the SL32 licence Gower Tip state that the materials deposited there HAD TO COME FROM OLDBURY. In fact they could have come from anywhere across the country, from any of the Albright and Wilson factories, especially those being decommissioned. Indeed if we are to take Bloores’s statement as truth, then if decommissioning started in 1972, then this would have allowed them at least two years to have dumped some of the worst stuff from Portishead up to Oldbury BEFORE licensing.

But fear not Albright and Wilson. At this point in history they had on board a prominent official in Robin Paul who was a  member of a clandestine organisation known as NIREX.

Nirex standing for Nuclear Industry Radioactive Waste Executive, was a body set up to explicitly find ways of dumping radioactive waste in deep well shallow graves. Whatever spin anyone else tries to put on this group , they are talking crap. 

Paul’s membership of this insidious body should come as no surprise when Albright and Wilson’s main problem were with expenditure on wastes and their disastrous waste pollution issues- such as this one at Portishead. Of course Albright and Wilson would be trying to dispose of their issues using this very body , and together with the others in NIREX , their little scheming and vile legacy was thankfully nipped in the bud and vehemently opposed.

Albright and Wilson had a site at Whitehaven very near to a well known nuclear site– both in the vicinity of AW rimmer John Cunningham MP- “industrial policy advisor”. One wonders if NIREX had continued, if this particular site would have made a profitable sell off for AW to dig some deep holes to dump some radioactive shite.

It’s when you start to make these connections that you see just how powerful Albright and Wilson were in lobbying and influencing policy for their financial gain from behind the scenes and out of the public eye. But it is something that the original family members had been doing themselves for many years earlier in the growth of their vile polluting factories.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Albright’s toxic archives #21 Enriching Radioactive dusts- and the truth

Albright’s toxic archives #20 A fatal phosphorus shower

It was not only at their disastrous Oldbury factory that deaths occurred due to the direct chemical that their entire operation depended upon. Just two years after the opening of their Portishead factory near Bristol, a white phosphorus explosion killed a man and injured another.

The 24 ton rail tankers in the centre of the picture were laden with molten white phosphorus

This article appeared in The Birmingham Daily Post on January 7th 1956. 

Poor George Buck a maintenance fitter died attempting to  repair a blocked pipe. The explosion showered him with white phosphorus and he died from severe burns.

His colleague , the hapless Herriot, appeared to be doing what he had been instructed to do to purge the gas trap which separated solids from gases. He claimed at the coroners hearing which recorded a verdict of “accidental death” that he had regularly done it this way.

Of course one could blame Herriot for the death, but this shows major failings of management , training and health and safety at these works. The Portishead site and its phosphorus furnaces was modelled on Oldbury works, and one wonders with the failures and fatalities seen there why they continued to care so little about their workforce. Perhaps it was because juries kept returning verdicts of “accidental death” rather than the corporate manslaughter that it really was. 

The effects of white phosphorus misused in war theatres can be seen below. Albright and Wilson’s victims were their workforce first.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Albright’s toxic archives #20 A fatal phosphorus shower

A pier at Worthing

Last month there was a very suspicious “chemical leak” at Worthing in Sussex which left several people feeling ill with “vomiting” and “sore eye” symptoms being reported. The authorities closed off the pier.

This all had the very similar dubious pattern of an event that occurred at Beachy head/Burling Gap two years ago. On this occasion, the WLBRL team headed for the coast to see what could be found. Since then it has been revealed that the finest scientific minds in the UK have deduced, er , absolutely nothing as to what this substance even was.


“…it has not been possible to identify the irritant chemical involved”- well how bloody convenient.

The DEFRA report above speculates ”  it seems most likely that the source of the gas cloud was a ship, lost cargo, or possibly a wreck.
Unless further information is obtained, it may never be possible to identify the precise source of the release. “

Very similar claims appear to have been made in the most recent incident, with the pier at Worthing being at the centre of the chemical scare.

And so it was that the intrepid WLBRL explorers ventured from the West Midlands heading South in an attempt to get to the bottom of it .


At nearly a distance of 200 miles , no place in the UK is safe from our investigations.  😆

A lovely summers day glistened the motorway and A road route, and despite a few hold ups the target area was eventually reached.

On hitting the pebbled beach, a hasty security cordon was erected with the offending erection in view.


A wise cracking seagull looked on;  was this a Russian spy communicating some form of code? Had he dropped something nasty into the sea? There was definitely something fishy about this sear-guy.

Out to Sea, the ghastly sight of wind turbines blighted the waterscape, and more distantly I’m sure I heard the wailing of Remoaners lapping on the waves from Brighton, crying about the proroguing of parliament.

A hideous blight

The pier at Worthing was built in 1862 and upgraded 26 years later. A fire destroyed most of it in 1933, and the rebuilt structure is what can be found today. Interestingly it has won “pier of the year” twice in 2006 and THIS year. Using my Columbo style sleuth prowess, I wonder if some jealous rival decided to set off some stink bombs in retaliation?

nearly 300 metres long

A handy Geiger counter was used to detect any possible fallout from malicious activities. Radioactive divebombing birds trained by a tin pot dictator state being plausible. In fact Southern Water, that water company now best known for its corporate fraud for not reporting notifiable pollution issues, recently laughably attempted to use hawks in order to try to deter SEAGULLS from being there– yes those birds that fly over the sea . Their ludicrous rationale- that the creatures were contaminating the sea! This shit, frequent shit polluting discharger is officially the worst water company in the country, but would they ever consider releasing some form of chemical bird repellent I wonder?

Some interesting glass work ran along the division of the pier. Was this the work of some crazed scientist ?

What’s brewing?

Behind the pier a large wheel provided a thrill seeking opportunity.

The eye of the Geiger

At the end of the structure some tossers were fishing. Had one of these jerks on one end of the line pulling a jerk on the other end of the line accidentally disturbed something on the seabed on that fateful day?

The water was fairly blue and clear. The wind was quite gusty, but there was no detection of any chemical in the air or on the pier itself. And so the cordon was lifted.

Back on the beach, it seemed as though Worthing Baywatch were not too busy that day either.

Some interesting “shipwrecks” in Worthing were noted, though none of these referred to any type of chemicals being carried.

One is therefore left to wonder what was going on here, and why yet again the authorities appear incapable of being able to detect any common chemical that was involved? All around us of course we live with chemicals , in the air, in the water and in the ground, yet when something like this happens, those who created the source are usually the last to reveal it.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A pier at Worthing

Gatekeeping the “safety” of Rattlechain lagoon

Since starting this website in 2013, and long before this when asking questions about this “hazardous waste site” and the company making the poisonous white phosphorus and other chemicals that went into it, I have been struck by the number of those belonging to the left leaning political class who have actively tried to silence and belittle my attempts to get to the truth.

Far from being “persecuted” and “blacklisted” by the likes of The Economic League and others, these all championing union supporting “comrades” have kept their personal interest in the company – particularly Albright and Wilson, very close to their chest. Rather than being class warriors interested in environmental justice, they have kept their mouths tightly shut. This equally applies to their deluded ex workforce, still loyal to a company whose founding families were pure capitalists who rubbed shoulders with the hunting classes themselves. It is amazing that when it does not fit a class war “bloody Tories” tick box as to how quiet these characters become on just about every issue. Not that I am politically affiliated to anyone, it’s just a direct observation.

It is also the case that this website and my research about rattlechain lagoon is never going to be highjacked by self serving political characters out for their own promotional agenda, something which unfortunately has happened before with community campaigning on pollution hotspots and environmental matters. 

I have previously blogged about how Albright and Wilson employed many local amateur Labour politicians, as well as some having very close personal family ties with the company; and the subsequent companies still do. This is no conspiracy theory, it is a fact.

Albright and Wilson/Rhodia, and their political friends controlled the type of information about rattlechain lagoon and their polluting factory for many years.

What is interesting however is the way in which political “friends” and allies of a certain left leaning persuasion attempt to solicit blacklisting of one person’s attempts to get to the truth when speaking out about these close political links with a polluting company – now increasingly through social media. If it were the other way around, and this company had close opposition party links, it would be a class war twitter storm for them. I refer again to my comment about the economic league above and the hypocrisy that goes with doing something similar to the actions of this fabled body, that in truth the class warriors were never through their lack of any importance or relevance (except in their own deluded minds), ever on the radar of.

It is extraordinary, though not surprising when such people exhibit such  overwhelming hypocrisy by gatekeeping. Take for example the one below that I chanced on by accident involving pictures which were shared onto a public group about rattlechain. Someone posted a link to this website, only for the smug author of the original post , (a local blogger of some note) to claim this.

and the reason is what exactly?

I have no idea whatsoever why the poster claimed that he did not “link to it for a reason”, and further baffled about the comment about the site keeping “courts busy for many hours.” Perhaps he would care to clarify if he means the site- as in rattlechain lagoon, or the web “site” , run by me?

Whatever the reason for posting this, if he is inferring the latter, then he is making a knowingly false claim in its entirety. The statements that I make and pages published have all been sourced by original documents, National Archives material, newspaper accounts of the time, witnesses, FOI/EIR requests to relevant bodies, which I include, and are not just anecdotes made by anonymous people or those with rose tinted recollections. I take this comment as an attack on me personally, and that of my work.

This “troubles” some people because it shows dedicated research in dark areas that many would like hidden- such as those amateur politicians who take a wage home from their employment, or a pension from their previous polluting employer. 

What I find more disturbing is when I attempted to answer something on the original post via facebook. Within five minutes of making the post, and attempting to give the link to this website, I had been blocked by the author, and after seeing that the post was still visible via someone else’s profile, saw that my post had also been deleted- so that no one else could see that which I had written. That’s some community minded champion blogger and advocate of freedom of information right there.  😆  😆 😆

What is more interesting is that one of the post likers on the first post was none other than Sandwell Labour Councillor Paul Sandars– like many, a once a liberal democrat defector.


In Sandwell, I am not liked by the local councillors. I take this as a badge of honour, because what we have in this authority is a dictatorship one party state with irrelevant scrutiny and no opposition. In saying this, I would again point out that I am not a member of, nor ever have been of any other political party, I just find the one in power in Sandwell, useless, clueless and provenly corrupt on many levels.

I give the example below to illustrate this point, from a subject access request that I recently put in to this inept local authority. This relates to me exposing their disgraceful Canada goose cull where my compliant to the Local Government Ombudsman about corrupt officers and contractors belonging to SMBC lying about what they had done WAS UPHELD. As with this website, I put in freedom of information requests to get to the truth- (remember a Labour Government introduced FOI and that was something good that they did do), and it was only via these that the information became public knowledge.

From the SAR, an email which SMBC have purposefully blanked out to disguise who sent it shows the little Hitler dictator author instructing others , probably officers, to not have any contact with myself only through him or her. He or she further then states that I should be treated as “vexatious”. No evidence of vexatious behaviour is provided with the email, because none existed to back up the statement. IT WAS A PURE ATTEMPT BY ONE INDIVIDUAL AT GATEKEEPING POLITICAL AND OFFICER CORRUPTION WITHIN SANDWELL COUNCIL.

I believe the author of this ,due to the abysmal mixing of “is” for “his” to be the moronic Darren Cooper deceased, former leader of SMBC who presided over the most corrupt period in the authorities history. Seen here is a direct example of how this gutless, fat yellow coward used public servants and tax payer’s money to do his bidding, and to cover up lies that he knew had been told by his corrupt parks officers, and also most laughably in the process, not even able get his diktat right. 😆 Such a great socialist, but one in true action.

This “Voldermortation” of an individual as I am coining the term, is a direct form of bullying. It is one that I have encountered before in my life, effectively “sending someone to Coventry”, not giving them any information or just blanking , “blocking” them or “no platforming” them. Then there is “guilt” by association, “I won’t be your fwend anymore if you associate with them.” It is both childish and intended to demean and to shut down any debate and freedom of speech- particularly on wrong doing, but this is the preserve of the infantile far left cry babies, and it is one that Cooper had to a fine art.

In a nutshell, it is the model of every single state where Communism has ever festered; to shut down any opposition or freedom of speech, so that a true “fascist” can prosper with the oligarchy. And may, God willing, it never come to this country. 

Whispered in private amongst themselves in an attempt to silence someone just asking valid questions- oh but where are the community championing socialist bloggers out there commenting on this?


Going back to the rattlechain facebook post, it is then more strange that the blogger then posted two links. The first one to the Rhodia website- a desperate multi billion , multinational’s  (headed by an ex French Government civil servant), attempt at a PR job after the creation of this website, as “officially” . The second, a link to a news story about local residents living next to the site who were not informed by the developers fearing concerns given the proven exposure to white phosphorus in the lake to birds as “unofficially”.

But one poster made the following astute comment about Rhodia’s desperate nonsense- and here is the response which I made to this, which was for reasons unknown, removed by Mr Blogger mate of Sandars, Sandars being the mate of at least three ex or current labour councillors in three different local authorities who worked or had close family links to Albright and Wilson and Rhodia. Nothing malicious, nothing libellous, nothing untruthful- so why was it removed to inadvertently at least, gatekeep for this multi million pound polluter company in the process?




When attempting to give a balance by sharing this website, I found that I had been blocked from doing so.

“That is an excellent attempt at PR only slightly damaged by the phrase “Please note that the Rattlechain Lagoon is a hazardous waste landfill site with an open body of water. For your own safety and that of others we urge you not to try to gain unauthorised access to the site at any time. The site is surrounded by a metal fence, monitored by CCTV and regularly inspected by a security contractor in order that we can ensure the site remains safe and secure. In an emergency, or if you see any suspicious behaviour, please contact 0121 541 3314 or the Police.”
Other than that it is a real asset to the community.”

I don’t think that I can better this comment about Rhodia’s attempts to silence local concern, except offer illustrations which demonstrate the true “safety” of this site to the surrounding public at large. Even a Sandwell council planning officer remember described the site where houses were built next to it as “a crap site for residential”– or perhaps I have made this up as well  🙄




Eight foot metal twin gates topped with spikes and a further 1 foot of razor wire


A company which “accepts no responsibility” warning of “DANGER”

A sign that clearly speaks for itself!


Gate secured with heavy duty metal chain and padlock

six foot metal palisade fencing, spikes at the top, surrounding three sides of the entire site- well over 400 meters. Eight foot wooden reinforced fencing against people’s back gardens, presumably to keep them in. 

1 foot coiled razor wire topping the palisade fencing with accompanying “DANGER” SIGN around the entire perimeter.


An old but still readable warning sign about “chemically treated water”


Several “hazardous landfill” warning signs erected around the perimeter, and on the inside of the site. (presumably for the ducks to read)



Dome hawk , full tilt and zoom pole mounted camera at the front gate, spanning the entire pool, and can also pick up anyone on the “Mintworth” Duport’s Tip hill and along John’s lane.



Extra cctv cameras with a thermal imaging camera pointing in three directions. An audible speaker attached to communicate with any potential trespassers.

Two more additional cctv cameras mounted on poles x2 on The North embankment, also with added thermal imaging and loud speakers


“Please note that the Rattlechain Lagoon is a hazardous waste landfill site with an open body of water. For your own safety and that of others we urge you not to try to gain unauthorised access to the site at any time. The site is surrounded by a metal fence, monitored by CCTV and regularly inspected by a security contractor in order that we can ensure the site remains safe and secure. In an emergency, or if you see any suspicious behaviour, please contact 0121 541 3314 or the Police.”






Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Gatekeeping the “safety” of Rattlechain lagoon

DANGER! AW Bombs at large #3

The concluding part 3 of news articles relating to the discovery of Albright and Wilson’s toxic useless bottles, made for an anti tank war that never came to Britain.

“The filling comprised 125cc WP, 21cc Water and 110 cc Benzine.”

As well as the obvious hazard of “Self igniting” white phosphorus and its subsequent breakdown products when these bottles were broken, it is also worth considering that benzene itself is a very carcinogenic substance, which makes it all the more dangerous when anyone came into direct contact with them. The quantity of benzene in each bottle was around 100CC according to this MOD published document , and there were 24 bottles in each box. When considering that over a documented  7 million  of these were made, this relates to over 700,000,000cc of benzene or 700,000 litres or 153, 978.5 UK gallons.    By contrast a typical Olympic sized swimming pool holds 555,000 gallons of water.  The Home Guard of course didn’t care where they left them- thanks for that Captain Mainwaring.

An article from The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 23rd April 1968 , recalls how a bulldozer uncovered some AW grenades which ignited during road works in Scotland. The bomb disposal squad were called to blow them up, though the number uncovered is not specified.

The fact that they were found near to the roadside is perhaps not surprising given that these devices were supposed to be used and thrown from roadblocks or from pill boxes.  Street to street fighting was envisaged, but the German invasion never materialised. The dangerous grenades however were foolishly handled by “The Home Guard.”

Another piece from The Newcastle Journal of 26th May 1969 tells how the bomb disposal unit were once again called into action to deal with 24 grenades (a full box). This cache was found in the sand dunes on land owned by The Ford Motor Company.

The same title again reported another S.I.P treasure trove on  21st January 1970. It appears that in an earlier incident a young boy had been playing on waste ground in Farnborough, Hampshire and had been burned. Once more they were taken away and destroyed by bomb disposal, though interestingly not at the scene. Perhaps the sheer number involved made this too dangerous?

In the same year on August 19th, The Birmingham Daily Post reported on how a new hotel being built in Redditch had to be sealed off due to an incident where AW bombs had exploded, again when they were unearthed. Nine bottles were found, some of which were obviously cracked and unstable when igniting.

The bomb disposal spokesman interestingly knows that the ground where the p4 scattered would be unsafe. He states that the ground would be raked to make sure that the phosphorus burned, though stupidly that the remnants would be buried under the road bank. I have no idea why this would have been thought a good idea.

The idea of an “antidote” of copper sulphate and soap is quite quaint. In reality the thermal burns caused by white phosphorus , as well as any fumes would require hospitalisation and many months to extract all of the damage that it would cause, as well as monitoring for many years as to the effects it may also have on the body and in particular the teeth.


Another story from The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 April 1987, details how a builder uncovered some bottles in his garden which he thought were pop. The article is wrong in that it states the bottles were from World War 1. 

The bomb squad again blew them up, bizarrely on a beach area. How this would be “raked over” is quite unclear, and one has to believe that it wouldn’t be.

The same paper reported another find in Angus just 12 days later! The 14 AW bombs were once again taken to a beach and blown up.

A major dump of phosphorus grenades (some 500) were found in reading in 1989.

The Reading Evening Post of 18th December reported on how the grenades had been buried by The Home Guard 6 feet underground at an army barracks. They were disturbed by a builder, and would have put present soldiers lives at risk had they detonated. This would have produced a great deal of phosphorus pentoxide on detonation , though it does not state where they were destroyed in the 12 hour operation.

A short piece from The Newcastle Journal of 19th July 1994 recounts more “grenade peril” in County Durham.  This time the discovery was on farmland , again a danger to any animals and anything entering the food chain when the white phosphorus spontaneously combusted. 

The different approaches taken by the bomb disposal squads in these articles are perhaps a part of the problem in how these mass produced weapons relics were destroyed. I have looked at this HERE, though it is clear that of the over 7 million made, AW bombs are still out there waiting to be discovered, and are no less dangerous but probably more so today than they were when coming off the Albright and Wilson production line. 

It’s just a question of how many of them went into a clay pit in Tividale after the war under the cover of “a waste disposal site”. 



Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on DANGER! AW Bombs at large #3

Good riddance to Liberty Drawn Tubes

This is just a quick update, as I’m sure many local people will be aware by now, that this vandalised abandoned West Bromwich site is finally being bulldozed and raised to the ground.

About bloody time!

For months, I along with others it seems had been trying to get anyone , just one organisation ,to take some form of lead and stop dangerous materials from this ex factory site from entering the canal and beyond. 

Several fires including a serious one occurred where the fire service idiotically pumped the contaminated water back into the canal. 

In desperation , I had even contacted Persimmon Homes, who had been given planning permission from SMBC last year to build houses at this very site. But their response was limited to say the least!

It now appears that they have finally found out where West Bromwich and Phoenix Street are as the pictures below show.


Persimmon it seems have now erected a sign off Phoenix Street, which they appear to be giving the name “phoenix wharf”- how often these dubious house builders come up with such pretentious shite. I think it very unlikely that they will care about the state of the canal which they helped through their negligence to pollute, but will no doubt attempt to con people through their literature into believing they are buying a plush “canal side setting home”.  I think I might have to hand out some flyers to prospective buyers when the show home sales sweet opens.  😈

A bit bloody late!

We will also no doubt then once these houses are built have the prospect of Severn Trent Water “misconnections” going into the drink to further pollute the waterway. Till then , enjoy the dust.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Good riddance to Liberty Drawn Tubes

Screwing The Gower and local residents

When I last reported on the curious goings on at this former Albright and Wilson hazardous waste dump that was being unearthed, it appeared that a great deal of work had been taking place, BEFORE any planning permission had been obtained.

Sandwell council, according to planning officer Allison Bishop stated

“I am informed that the drilling rig will be on site next week for approximately 2 weeks to take samples.  A clean cover of top soil will then be put back.”

 I was satisfied following a walk over the site that these works do not constitute commencement of restoration works but are merely to inform the planning application.  I am informed that the planning application will be submitted early next year following analysis of the test results and full design being prepared.”

This of course does not prevent exposure to residents in George Wood Avenue who no doubt have concern about this “restoration work” and what it will involve- AFTER they had been sold a pup by Morris Homes. SMBC of course are interested along with the faceless “Black Country LEP”- a poor man’s latter day Black country Development Corporation of building even more around this vile toxic Albright and Wilson chemical “radioactive” dump.

What’s behind the screening covers?

The equipment stated in the email did arrive as billed, with the company “GEOTRON UK” visible on site.

The rig arrives

The drilling rig, you could be forgiven for thinking looks like something that Larry Hagman might have stood next to back in the 80’s.

It appears that this is given the title “COMACCHIO GEO 205” . Here are the technical specifications below.


It can be seen from these pictures that there appears to be some form of pump in operation and liquid materials.

We are talking inches away from people’s homes


The other noticeable new feature were wooden boxes which uncannily look like the old AW bomb crates- complete with rope handles!

Obviously someone has a fairly sick sense of humour here, though instead of phosphorus grenades, the drilled samples of whatever material they have unearthed appear to be being stashed in jam jars.

But here is the curious thing, from the “Gower Tip” labels on these boxes, why were there two , both marked “box 1” ? 

Are we getting a dummy box 1 which will contain the real samples, replaced by a fictitious box one with made up results, or is this some form of weird urine sample test where the b results are stored in case of a positive drug test a sample?

Whatever these environmental consultants and their sub contractors were doing at this site, to supposedly inform a planning application, one can see that much material has already been scraped back away from the residential properties in George Wood Avenue.


We will see what the site owners come up with before this application arises, but before then, I will certainly be asking some more questions of SMBC about what they know. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Screwing The Gower and local residents

Albright’s toxic archives #19 White phosphorus fire at Rattlechain

A housing estate at Temple Way had been built on the doorstep of Albright and Wilson’s John’s Lane “Rattlechain Tip” , yet very few people who lived there knew about their toxic neighbour, or what was being dumped there under water. On 8th October 1989 however, a delivery of white phosphorus barrels that were often reportedly “sunk with rifle fire” thrust attention onto the danger on their doorstep.

I have previously covered how The Express and Star neutralised this story, partly due to A&W’s friends at West Midlands Fire Service. But one question that I would ask is, if this was just a routine fire, why did the police helicopter hover over it for some time in a attempt to spot what was occurring from above?

Historic reports of fires had been reported years before the newer houses were built, and another on how a lorry load en route to the site had also started to “strike a light”. But this one revealed the specific risks of the chemical that was being deposited there to a new audience, and it also began to scupper the housing plans being put forward and promoted by the joke that was The Black Country Development Corporation on the former Tividale sewage works.

The Sandwell Evening Mail article that I have recently found from 9th October 1989 gives a little more insight than the other newspaper did. “FAMILIES IN FUMES ALERT” 

It is revealed that it was the residents themselves who had reported the fire, and not any staff or the contractor from Albright and Wilson. The fire chief in charge claimed that

“phosphorus deposits had rose to the surface and spontaneously combusted”

It then goes on to state that the “chemical was bulldozed into a lagoon in the centre of the tip. Phosphorus is quite safe when it is underwater ” he said. “

This is truly quite frightening that someone in such a senior position at West Midlands Fire service was unaware of the whole tipping operation dynamic at this site. The lagoon of course WAS the whole “tip”, and there should have been no spillages anywhere else on the site- as the licence SL31 supposedly stated.

Of course this also reveals what an idiotic statement about “safety” concerning dumping this chemical under water is. It is not “safe” to any wildfowl ingesting the contaminated silt – as the long battle to prove Albright and Wilson and Rhodia’s systemic poisoning of birds ingesting white phosphorus proved.

This is the same West Midlands fire service who were also apparently “in the dark” about the other Albright and Wilson tip at The Gower, until a similar fire there required their attendance just a year later.

The fact that such little regard was given to white phosphorus , a banned rat poison being dumped in the open air , and shovelled under water was compounded by the inadequacy of a regulator who when it did come to the surface and started to smoke advised them to do exactly the same thing and “rake the sediment”, thus exposing the hapless wildfowl to further direct danger.

The Albright and Wilson so called “experts” later went on to explain that the tanker driver, or so their story claims, emptied one of the barrels when it would not sink onto the beach area. It later then caught fire when exposed to air, giving off phosphorus pentoxide and breaking down to phosphoric acid in contact with moisture. Though they may have played this down, the presence of this fire would not have required any helicopter under any normal “routine” circumstances would it?

I just wonder if these individuals when looking down from above thought to ask any questions of “the experts” as to why the pool was glowing in the dark?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Albright’s toxic archives #19 White phosphorus fire at Rattlechain