BB Mill was built in 1801 and established in 1867. Employing 1900 people, it covered 14 acres, and has been said to have used 680 looms and 43 carding machines. During the second world war, it had around 1000 looms in operation, producing blankets for soldiers, and material for uniforms. In recognition of this, the mill received a visit from King George V and Queen Mary. I visited here last year a couple of days before I moved to Manchester and I've been wanting to revisit ever since, so it was good to see that nothing much had changed and it's still as good as it ever was.
Friday, 18 July 2014
The origins of the company lie with two brothers, Henri and Camille Dreyfus. In 1912 they set up "Cellonit Gesellschaft Dreyfus and Co" in Basel, Switzerland. In 1916 the brothers were invited to live in Britain by the British Government, to produce their recently developed cellulose acetate dope for the war effort; the canvas skins of aircraft of the time were sealed and made taut with nitrocellulose dope, which was easily ignited by bullets.They developed the necessary plant and "British Cellulose and Chemical Manufacturing Co" was registered on March 18, 1916. The British Government patented the process developed by Henri Dreyfus, which lowered the costs of acetic anhydride production, an important reagent in the production of cellulose acetate. At the end of World War I, the British Government cancelled all contracts and the company changed to produce acetate fibres. In 1923 the company name was changed to British Celanese Ltd, a contraction of cellulose and ease. Softer and stronger, as well as being cheaper to produce than other fabrics used at the time such as satin or taffeta, Celanese was used in the production of garments.
British Celanese was the first factory in Britain to produce propylene and from it isopropyl alcohol and acetone in 1942. Clarifoil production developed out of cellulose acetate yarn technology. Clarifoil full-scale production commenced from 1947. Henri Dreyfus died in 1944. Camille Dreyfus died in 1956. In 1957, British Celanese was taken over by Courtaulds. The site is now operated by Celanese. The plant finally closed after the last shift on Wednesday 14th November 2012.
I've been sitting on this one for a while but as the site is now being demolished I don't think its an issue to post it here.