Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Thor Chemicals Margate explosion update.

It’s two years since the explosion at Thor Chemicals Margate, this was a plant that closed in 1988 and was being decommissioned.

The general understanding locally was that the only operation going on there was a water pumping station removing the toxic chemicals that had been spilt into Thanet’s drinking water aquifer during the years of the factory’s operations.

This link takes you to The Health and Safety Executive’s report on the explosion http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts129/id22.htm

I believe this exemplifies why as an ex-engineer, with a practical understanding of the sort of things that go on in factories, I am fundamentally against industrial development on the last part of our underground drinking water reservoir that hasn’t already been contaminated.

I am a bit lost for words when it comes to commenting on the actual explosion so will leave you with the following tongue twister.

The thunder god went for a ride, Upon his favourite filly, "I'm Thor, I'm Thor!" he cried, His horse replied, "You forgot your saddle silly”

Many thanks to Tim Garbutt’s for his perseverance with the freedom of information act that finally obtained The Health and Safety Executive’s report on the explosion.


  1. Michael,

    I believe the photo you used is the one that is captioned as being the result of a zepplin attack on Albion Place.

    I'd be interested if anyone knows where abouts this actually is (my guess is that if it is Albion Place, then it must be in the rear garden of a house, because of the other houses in the background - presumably on the other side of cottage road.).

    Why the hole is full of packing crates is also a bit of a puzzle.

  2. Thanet's Darwinian indifference exemplified by the absence of response.

    And the Norse god saith "Verily here is where to disgorge my faeces and urine. For these Fannit people meekly accept a continuous shower of crap, just so long as they can drink it and feed it to their children and whine that it must be their council's fault"

    Move out Michael and make your efforts for more deserving folk.

  3. Gerald I thing the caption may be an error and this is actually be the back of the Imperial Bazaar, 6 Albion, click on the link to read what Cockburn has to say about it http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts129/id23.htm anyone unfamiliar with Cockburn click on this link http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/id73.htm

    8.10 I don’t really think in this case there was anything TDC the EA or any other UK government agency could have done to prevent this explosion from happening.

    Some big multinationals are a bit of a law unto themselves, if you have a bit of a dull moment over Christmas you can take a gander at some further documentation, if I have done the technical side right when you click on this link http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/documents/davis.doc it should open a Word document on your computer, if you don’t fancy reading the whole thing, you can use the find tab by clicking on edit at the top of the document, to read the bits about Margate or whatever interests you.

  4. Michael,

    I often wondered if this postcard was (or was not) actually of the Albion Hill zeppelin damage - or whether there had been a separate zeppelin hit in Albion Place (as suggested by the caption on some versions of this postcard).

    I've had trouble in the past with reconciling the background in the picture with Albion Hill - as the back of 6 Albion hill drops down a long way, onto what is now the roof of the pub behind (ex indoor market).

    Your copy of this postcard is better than other scans that I've seen. On others, the background is far less clear. On your copy, the railings at the rear look like they might actually be surrounding an 'area' rather than being at the edge of a road.

    I'll have to go back and look at the old maps and photos and see if I can figure this out. [The use of the land behind and to the side has changed quite a lot since 1915 - and many of the original buildings have now gone.]

  5. Gerald sorry I assumed you understood this is an illustration from the book “Ramsgate During the Great War 1914-1918 A Souvenir of the Most Raided Part of England” by A H Siminson see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/id21.htm and the caption from the book.

    The original book printing quality owes much to the school of potato printing, I did my best to enhance the image but unlike postcards which are often photographs the limitations are considerable.

    You could try taking you memory stick down to the library and copying any relevant newspaper articles as you know the exact date.

  6. Michael,

    Ah - that explains the difference in the image. There is another version of this picture published as a postcard, which is far less clear. I've only ever seen a scanned copy of the postcard though - so the original might be better.

    I'll drop in sometime to buy a copy of the book by Siminson.



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