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Architecture Notes

Event ID 785704

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Architecture Notes


NT28NW 165 226 862 to 229 862

Works [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1989.

This large complex is situated on the edge of the town. The land for this factory was bought by the British Aluminium Company in 1913, production of alumina commencing in 1917. It was situated here on the south coast of Fife because of plentiful local coal supplies, and proximity to aluminium smelters both in Scotland and in Norway. The factory utilised the 'Bayer Process', which involves extracting alumina (a white powder) from bauxite (a usually orange aluminium ore, shipped to Firth of Forth by sea from sources such as Jamaica, Ghana and Australia, and brought to Burntisland Harbour by barge). The process involves crushed bauxite bing mixed with caustic soda and heated under pressure in autoclaves.

The factory has worked continuously since 1917, and its many phases of development and modernisation included the construction bauxite hoppers by Sir William Arrol & Co in 1932. At the time of survey in 1998, new development work was under way, and the capacity of the factory had been diverted to supplying the chemical industry, the smelters at Kinlochleven and Lochaber receiving their alumina from other sources. The site was owned by the Canadian aluminium company, Alcan (as were the two smelters).

British Aluminium Company, 19[55]?

This works has closed. The buildings have been demolished and the site is under redevelopment for residential use.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 3 May 2006.

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