G.I. 2018
XSEXCENTENARY
NOT DEAD YET 3

St. Rollox Bollox






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Kate: “In 1800, Charles Tennant founded a chemical works at St. Rollox, Glasgow. The plant grew to be the largest chemical works in the world. It covered over 100 acres. The huge chimney known as Tennant's Stalk towered over everything, rising over 400 feet into the air.”

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Norma: “Tennant was aware of the atmospheric pollution his works were creating, the huge chimney was an attempt to lose fumes into the upper atmosphere. At the same time, chemical waste was dumped in the Sighthill area causing a deadly spread of contaminants through the soil, which local people called The Stinking Ocean.”

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Wanda: “In the nineteenth century, the chemical industry involved almost entirely unskilled heavy manual labour in its production processes. Chemical employers were notorious for the low wages they paid to those working in the highly dangerous conditions in their works. In 1879 St Rollox paid a labourer £40 a year, for a 60 hour week. Inflation adjusted, this equates to about £1.50 an hour.”

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Kate: “The interior of the St Rollox works was described in 1847 as follows: “The place is, necessarily, black and dirty, and as infernal in appearance as we can well imagine any earthly place to be. The heaps of sulphur, lime, coal and refuse; the intense heat of the scores of furnaces in which the processes are going on; the smoke and thick vapours which dim the air of most of the buildings; the swarthy and heated appearance of the men; the acrid fumes of sulphur and the various acids which worry the eyes, and tickle the nose and choke the throat; …form a series of notabilia not soon to be forgotten."

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Norma: “Luckily for those condemned to labour at St Rollox, it was only 400 yards from Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary where legions of them went to receive medical attention throughout the lifetime of the works.”

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The tableau is maintained for a while longer...

And that's it.


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Holly Knox Yeoman, co-producer of Not Dead Yet, tells the live audience that - in commemoration of women's deaths and in celebration of their lives - there will be a procession from the XSexcentenary hub at Ladywell Business Centre to the Necropolis on Sunday, May 6.

You can get a retrospective taste of that
here.