Glorious Yorkshire: Even industry looks beautiful in the settting sun

PIC: James Hardisty
PIC: James Hardisty
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Oscar Wilde once said: “Industry is the root of all ugliness.”

There are some people who might agree with him, though equally there are many who would argue that beauty can emanate from unlikely places, as this majestic photograph of the sun setting behind Saltend Chemicals Park, in Hull, goes to prove.

Industrial estates like the 370-acre Saltend Chemicals Park have come a long way from the days when factories belched out black smoke and soot across the North of England during the Industrial Revolution.

The Saltend Chemical Park, as it’s known today, was established in 2009 and is a cluster of world renowned chemicals and renewable energy businesses at the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary.

But while the park is relatively new the site itself has an industrial heritage that dates back more than a century.

A jetty was first opened at Saltend in 1914 by the then Asiatic Petroleum Company, now Shell, and the Anglo Mexican Company, later Shell Mex.

Back then there was little indication of the transformation that was to follow, as a research laboratory worker called Edgar Stagg Pemberton, pointed out: “At that time there was nothing to indicate Saltend but the two lighthouses emitting their periodic wailing. To the westward, King George Dock, then under construction, was a vast muddy hole.”

The site experienced slow growth during the recession in the 1930s. However, the 50s saw the introduction of synthetic alcohol feedstock for the production of chemicals and during the next decade, following advances in technology, BP introduced a new process for chemicals manufacture.

BP has operated at Saltend since 1967, when it bought the site distilleries. That acquisition began Saltend’s expansion to world-scale commodity chemicals manufacture.

Today, the park is a production powerhouse and more photogenic than you might think. Though I doubt that Mr Wilde would agree.

Technical details: Nikon D5, Lens, Nikon 70-200mm, shutter Speed, 1/640sec, Aperture, f8.0, ISO 50.