Volunteers sought to compile history of Alcan at Northumberland site

Archive will be compiled of Alcan Northumberland site

www.crestphotography.co.uk Valerie Short (right) and Liz O'Donnell inspect The Journal's coverage in 1990 of Alcan's tow million tonnes production milestone
Valerie Short (right) and Liz O'Donnell inspect The Journal's coverage in 1990 of Alcan's tow million tonnes production milestone

A history is to be compiled of 40 years of aluminium production at a Northumberland site.

The memories of workers at the Alcan plant in Lynemouth are to be collected and stored for future generations with the launch of a historical archive project.

Thousands of men and women worked at the Lynemouth smelter from its opening by Alcan in 1972 until its closure two years ago.

Rio Tinto, which took over Alcan’s global business, has funded the project with a £5,000 donation to the Northumberland Archive at Woodhorn Museum.

Around 30 ex-worker volunteers are being sought to take part in the project and have their memories and anecdotes digitally recorded.

Local oral historian Liz O’Donnell will conduct interviews with the former employees and the end result will be available on CD and via the audio booth at Woodhorn Museum.

The Rio Tinto Alcan plant at Lynemouth in Northumberland
The Rio Tinto Alcan plant at Lynemouth in Northumberland
 

“This promises to be a fascinating project and I’m sure the end result will inform and delight many of the people who worked at Lynemouth as well as future generations who want to know more about this important period of our industrial heritage,” said Liz.

Valerie Short has worked at the Lynemouth site for 37 years and she now has responsibility for archiving thousands of important documents, photographs and other materials.

She said: “As well as the essential business materials that must be archived we really wanted to capture the very personal memories of some of the people who worked on the site over the years. “So many highly skilled people worked here including great characters who will have fascinating stories to tell.

“We had some wonderful times over the years including landmarks in production, big investments made in our processes and very important visitors such as the Queen, senior politicians and executives from around the world.

“Now we want to record the memories of the people who were there to witness history in the making. I hope former colleagues will come forward and enjoy the opportunity to tell their story.”

Anybody who worked at the Lynemouth Smelter between 1972 and 2012 is invited to contact Valerie on 01670 393 714 and volunteer to take part.

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