History of Alcan forms new article

The former Sapa (Alcan) factory on Southam Road.'090803E-B017 ENGNNL00120120815153550
The former Sapa (Alcan) factory on Southam Road.'090803E-B017 ENGNNL00120120815153550

The history of the Alcan factory - one of Banbury’s biggest employers when the town was a busy manufacturing centre - is the subject of a new in-depth report.

The Banbury Historical Society presents a bumper, 72-page issue this winter, dedicated to ‘the Ally’ whose iron entrance gates can still be seen on the Southam Road.

“The winter issue of our journal, Cake and Cockhorse, will principally feature a history of the aluminium factory which was a dominant feature of the town’s life for more than seventy years,” said Barrie Trinder, historian and vice-president of the society.

“The history is the work of Richard Hartree, who joined what was then Northern Aluminium as a young metallurgist in September 1954.

“He spent much of the 1960s and 70s working at Banbury and retired from Alcan in 1990 when he was working in Vancouver.

“He lived in retirement for many years in Sibford but has recently moved to Cheltenham.”

The article provides a full explanation of how the works came to be built and of the processes carried out there. There is a description of what happened at the factory during the Second World War when aluminium was vital to the aircraft industry.

Mr Hartree pays a fulsome tribute to those he knew when working in Banbury who had kept production going during difficult wartime conditions.

The article also considers the role of the company in providing sports facilities for its workpeople and the works fire brigade.

Cake and Cockhorse will be available at the society’s lecture meeting at Banbury Museum next Thursday, December 10 at £2.50, the museum shop or via the website www.banburyhistory.org at £3.50 to include postage.