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Burntisland, 135 Aberdour Road, Alumina Works

Works (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Burntisland, 135 Aberdour Road, Alumina Works

Classification Works (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) British Aluminium Company, Alcan Chemicals Uk

Canmore ID 92970

Site Number NT28NW 165

NGR NT 226 862

NGR Description NT 224 861 to NT 229 862

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Burntisland
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Kirkcaldy
  • Former County Fife

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.


Field Visit (11 June 2003)

An archaeological baseline study was undertaken of the site of the former

Alcan alumina works at Burntisland, Fife.

S Carter, Headland Archaeology 2003


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