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ICI Dyestuffs Division Archive

Date range: c.1880-1997

Medium: Archive

Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was a major British manufacturing firm in the 20th century. It was created in 1926 by the amalgamation of four firms: Brunner Mond, Nobel Explosives, United Alkali Co. and the British Dyestuffs Corporation. The latter company was the largest British manufacturer of dyestuffs, and was itself the product of an earlier merger between two important companies: Levinsteins and Read Holliday. Between 1926 and 1939, ICI took over several independent dyestuffs firms including British Alizarine Ltd and Scottish Dyes Ltd.

The ICI Dyestuffs Division was the UK's largest manufacturer of dyestuffs and fine chemicals until the 1990s. It operated at sites across the UK, including Blackley and Trafford Park in Greater Manchester, Huddersfield, Grangemouth and Ellesmere Port.

The ICI Dyestuffs archive is fragmentary, and the records for the Dyestuffs Division is far from complete. There are relatively few financial and production records, and minute books. On the other hand, coverage of ICI's promotional literature and ephemera is extensive, and there is a substantial photographic collection relating mainly to the Blackley site. The archive includes the records of the predecessor companies such as the British Dyestuffs Corporation Ltd., Read Holliday Ltd., Levinsteins, the British Alizarine Co. Ltd., and Scottish Dyes Ltd.

Further information:

  • Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
  • M. R. Fox, Dye-Makers of Great Britain 1856-1976: A History of Chemists, Companies, Products and Changes (Manchester: Imperial Chemical Industries, 1987).


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