United Alkali Company

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United Alkali Company Ltd
IndustryBulk chemicals
Predecessor48 separate companies
Successor Imperial Chemical Industries
Headquarters Widnes
Products Soda ash

United Alkali Company Limited was a British chemical company formed in 1890, employing the Leblanc process to produce soda ash for the glass, textile, soap, and paper industries. [1] It became one of the top four British chemical companies merged in 1926 with Brunner Mond, Nobel Explosives and British Dyestuffs Corporation to form Imperial Chemical Industries.



United Alkali was formed on 1 November 1890 when 48 chemical companies from the Tyne, Scotland, Ireland and Lancashire were merged. These included Newcastle Chemical Works, Allhusen, Gateshead; Atlas Chemical of Widnes; Henry Baxter of St Helens; Gaskell, Deacon of Widnes; Globe Alkali of St Helens; Golding-Davis of Widnes; Irvine Chemical of Scotland; A G Kurtz of St Helens; James Muspratt of Widnes and Liverpool; Runcorn Soap and Alkali; Charles Tennant of St Rollox, Glasgow; Wigg Brothers and Steele of Runcorn. [2] The merged companies were:

  1. Henry Baxter of St Helens
  2. Globe Alkali Co of St Helens
  3. Greenbank Alkali Works Co of St Helens
  4. A. G. Kurtz and Co of St Helens
  5. James McBryde and Co of St Helens
  6. William Chadwick and Sons t/a St Helens Chemical Co of St Helens
  7. Sutton Lodge Chemical Co of St Helens
  8. Thomas Walker of St Helens
  9. Gaskell, Deacon and Co of Widnes
  10. Golding Davis and Co of Widnes
  11. Robert Shaw t/a Hall Brothers and Shaw of Widnes
  12. Hay Gordon and Co of Widnes
  13. John Hutchinson and Co of Widnes
  14. Liver Alkali Works of Widnes
  15. Niel Mathieson and Co of Widnes
  16. Mort, Liddell and Co of Widnes
  17. Muspratt Bros. and Huntley of Flint
  18. James Muspratt and Sons of Widnes and Liverpool
  19. W. Pilkington and Son of Widnes
  20. The Runcorn Soap and Alkali Works of Runcorn and Weston
  21. Thomas Snape of Widnes
  22. Sullivan and Co of Widnes
  23. The Widnes Alkali Co of Widnes
  24. Wigg Brothers and Steele of Widnes
  25. The Netham Chemical Co of Bristol
  26. Hazlehurst and Sons of Runcorn
  27. Heworth Alkali Co of Heworth-on-Tyne
  28. Jarrow Chemical Co of Jarrow-on-Tyne
  29. Newcastle Chemical Works of Gateshead
  30. J. G. and W. H. Richardson of Jarrow-on-Tyne
  31. Seaham Chemical Works of Seaham Harbour
  32. St Bede Chemical Co of Jarrow-on-Tyne
  33. Charles Tennant and Partners of Hebburn-on-Tyne
  34. Wallsend Chemical Co of Wallsend-on-Tyne
  35. Eglinton Chemical Co of Irvine
  36. Irvine Chemical Co of Irvine
  37. North British Chemical Co of Dalmuir
  38. Charles Tennant and Co of St Rollox, Glasgow
  39. Boyd, Son and Co of Dublin
  40. Newcastle Chemical Works of Port Clarence
  41. Charles Tennant and Partners of Port Clarence
  42. Fleetwood Salt Co of Fleetwood
  43. E. Bramwell and Son of St Helens
  44. Morgan Mooney of Dublin
  45. Dublin and Wicklow Manure Co of Dublin
  46. Peter Alfred Mawdsley of Flint
  47. Tyneside Chemical Co of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  48. J.C. Gamble & Sons Ltd of St. Helens

Following the merger of the companies, some concerns were raised about the impact on employment. In Robert Sherard's The White Slaves of England (1896) he quotes of the impact in Runcorn, where the Alkali factory previously employed about 500 men but fewer than ten after amalgamation.


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  1. "Fleetwood's Maritime Heritage". United Alkali. 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.