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Author A Forgotten Industry: The Alum Shale Industry of North-East Yorkshire
christwigg

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Joined: 20/02/2008
Location: Cleveland / North Yorkshire

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A Forgotten Industry: The Alum Shale Industry of North-East Yorkshire
Posted: 28/10/2018 07:59:23
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Peter Appleton has just self-published a new book on the Alum industry for anyone that may be interested.



https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Industry-industry-north-east-Yorkshire/dp/0993367410/

For some 270 years, the escarpments and coastal cliffs of north-east Yorkshire were home to England’s first great chemical industry, the alum industry. Described by one writer as “a science-based industry, at a time when there was no science on which to base it”, for the owners and proprietors of the works, it was an opportunity to try to create monopolies, form cartels, and make or lose fortunes. For the workers, especially those in the quarries, it was an opportunity, quite literally, to change the face of north-east Yorkshire. What was alum? A medical cure-all from Roman times to the late-medieval period. An essential substance for dyers and tanners. A fire-retardant. A water purifier. Some of its properties, known about since the Egyptian civilisation, are still relevant in today's world. Whilst concentrating on the operations in north-east Yorkshire from 1600 to 1870, the story of this industry is told from its origins in Egypt to the beginning of science-based industrial production. The people who made this industry; landowners, proprietors, works managers, and the full spectrum of the workforce, are all discussed. The activities of the alum sloops, sailing ships used to transport the raw materials and finished product, are explored in some detail; so are the supply and distribution networks. Alum production from shale was a process rooted in alchemy. Its demise was brought about by the industrial application of scientific chemistry.
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