Billingham is a town just north of the River Tees, in the borough of Stockton-on-Tees, traditionally part of County Durham.
It was a Saxon settlement from about the 7th Century onwards and St Cuthbert church has a fine tower of AD 1000.
A late 7th century grave-marker from the church is now in the British Museum.
In 1801, the population was 355 people but the demand for explosives created by the First World War led to a massive expansion of Billingham.
In 1917, it was decided by the government to build a plant to produce ammonia.
Later this was used predominantly in the production of chemicals for fertiliser.
Eventually, in 1926, this plant became part of the newly formed company, ICI.
Anhydrite was also mined in the Billingham area from 1928.
In 1934 plastics began to be produced there.
Aldous Huxley visited the newly-opened and technologically-advanced Brunner and Mond plant at ICI and gives a fine and detailed account of the processes he saw.
The introduction to the most recent print of Brave New World states that Huxley was inspired to write the classic novel (in which Mustapha Mond figures as a character), by this Billingham visit.
From 1965 onwards, the town has played host to the Billingham Folklore Festival.
From 1971 to 1988 ICI operated a small General Atomics TRIGA Mark I nuclear reactor at its Billingham factory.
ICI no longer operates in Billingham having sold many of its businesses during the company's restructuring of the 1990s.
Some of the company's former manufacturing plants are still in operation, run by other chemical companies.
For a more information about Billingham see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billingham) November 2005
Sarolta and I visited this place during our trip around the British Isles in 1978.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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