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. It was 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 to change, quite literally, the face of north-east Yorkshire.
This is the story of that industry.
Publication due: October 2018