Venator Site Under Construction

This was taken from the Hartlepool to Port Clarence road, the same day as I took the picture of the first of the Hartlepool reactors being built. This can be made out in the far distance. I believe that the photograph shows the initial stages of construction at the Venator site. It would have been one of the first chemical plants to be built in this area, which was nothing more than a desolate, swampy, windswept and totally uninteresting section of land that was being reclaimed from the Tees estuary.

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

3 thoughts on “Venator Site Under Construction

  1. It was originally the British Titan Products plant and built around 1970 with some of the BTP staff from their plant at Grimsby transferring up to commission and operate it. The ‘old’ BTP plant was on Haverton Hill Road in Billingham and split into east and west sites and I’m pretty sure that they also had a laboratory on Portrack Lane somewhere near it’s junction with Ross Road? I think there was an ICI connection too so perhaps that’s why their sites were so close together at Billingham plus the feedstocks were imported by boat and needed a river frontage. The imports for the new Greatham plant came in through Hartlepool Docks.
    British Titan Products became the Tioxide Group which was then sold to Huntsman and then Venator which it is today.


    • Yes, there was quite a large Tioxide building on the corner of Portrack Lane & Ross Road, where the retail park is (Jump etc). I went there once for an interview for a lab tech trainee role. Didn’t get it :(… and then it was gone.


  2. Wasn’t it Tioxide plant, Fred. I think they shut their facility, adjacent to Billingham ICI, when this new factory came on line, perhaps late 1970’s. They sold it to Huntsman, if I remember. In the early years of the 20th century, the Tees Conservancy Commission, had hoped to reclaim, many more acres of the North Bank of the Tees, with the prospect of heavy industry concentrating there. They even persuaded the North Eastern railway to build a line, with the intention of joining up with a line that had been built to service a Zinc factory, near to where the Power Station is now. But tests done in the 1920’s were to prove that it would take about forty years for the reclaimed land to be consolidated enough for industry to be established, and the idea was put aside until ICI built their North Tees plant in the late 1960’s. The railway line is still there as far as Greatham Creek, but was never completed.


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