Tyne and Wear HER(3537): Felling, Friar's Goose Chemical Works - Details
Title of image: Engraving of Chemical Works, Friars Goose
Date: 19th century
Description: The river frontage at South Shore was one of the main locations for the chemical industry. By the nineteenth century, it was already a conglomeration of industries - glass, soap and iron. In the early nineteenth century, various chemical works opened. In 1828, Thomas Doubleday and Anthony Easterby, Newcastle manufacturers, sought to change the use of some land at Gateshead from whale oil to oil of vitriol manufacture. The high price of alkali led them to use recovered soapers salts. The first sulphuric acid chambers on the Tyne had been set up for this purpose in 1809 at Bill Quay (Cambell, 1968, p17). A sulphuric works on Pipewellgate is marked on the first edition county series Ordnance Survey map of 1857. When Anthony Clapham moved his soap factory from Ballast Hills to Friars goose this had the effect of opening out the South Shore to Bill Quay and the establishment of the largest chemical works in the district. The works at Friars Goose closed shortly before the First World War but the main works at South Shore remained open (Manders, 1973, p74).
Additional info: Engraving
Location/Collection: Gateshead Libraries/Gateshead Local Studies Image Collection
Accession number: GL002007
Copyright: Content Copyright Â© Gateshead Council. All Rights Reserved.
Felling, Friar's Goose Chemical Works
Chemical Production Site
In 1827 Friar's Goose Chemical Works was established by Anthony Clapham, who had been harassed out of a number of works in the North-East after complaints of pollution caused by his factories. Soap making was conducted at the site until 1829 and by 1831 the works had been altered to become a caustic works operating the Leblanc process, mainly producing bicarbonate of soda and Epsom Salts. In a misguided attempt to alleviate pollution, Clapham's Chimney, 263 feet high and the highest on Tyneside at the time was built in 1833. In 1891 Works were taken over by the United Alkali Company (which eventually became ICI) where production concentrated on caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) for use in the textile industry. The banks of the Tyne provided an ideal location in terms of water resources, availability of coal and access for the import and export of goods. Many of the workers in the chemical industry came from Ireland, driven out by the potato famine. Working conditions were appalling; acid burns were commonplace and the workforce had to wrap layer upon layer of flannel over their faces to try to filter the poisonous fumes. In 1926 the United Alkali Company became part of ICI and the Gateshead works were run down and by 1942 they had closed. The spoil area from the Friar's Goose Works was incorporated in East Gateshead Riverside Park.
<< HER 3537 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 3 T.Oliver, 1831, A Perambulatory Survey, in A picture of Newcastle upon Tyne, pp 137-138 Environment Technology Consultants Ltd, 1995, Site Investigation of Felling Riverside; University of Newcastle upon Tyne Department of Extra-Mural Studies, 1961, The Old Tyneside Chemical Trade, chapter XI, page 30