Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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British Alkali Works

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British Alkali Works, chemical manufacturers, of Stoke Prior, Worcestershire

About 1830 William Gossage went into partnership with a Mr. Farndon making alkali at the British Alkali Works, Stoke Prior, Worcestershire. During this time Gossage experimented with a method of absorbing the hydrochloric acid gas released as a result of the Leblanc process of manufacturing alkali. He filled a derelict windmill with gorse and brushwood, introduced the gas and water at the top of the top and found that little or no fumes appeared at the bottom. He developed this technique into the Gossage tower, using a deep bed of coke in a high tower to absorb the gas. The Gossage condensing towers were eventually used almost universally by the Leblanc factories.

1830s Edward White Benson (1800–1843), chemical engineer and manufacturer, became manager of the British Alkali Works at Stoke, near Droitwich.

1836 William Gossage appointed James Shanks and George Elliott, to assist in the erection and development of Gossage's absorption towers (patented in 1836) at the British Alkali Works at Stoke Prior, Worcestershire.

1837 The works were advertised for sale by auction[1].

1841 James Shanks moved to St Helens and erected Gossage towers for Gamble and Crosfields.

1842 The British Alkali business failed.

1845 Ceased trading[2].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 29 March 1837
  2. The Times, 26 April, 1852
  • Biography of Edward White Benson, ODNB [1]