I suppose living in England we should be used to, lets call it ‘dull’ weather. However its JULY… Sun, where are you?!?
For not only weathered reasons ‘juxtaposed july’ seamed quite approriate! July has sprung upon us and brought the 100th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme.
‘Batallie de la Somme’, July 1st – November 18th, was the largest battle of World War One, fought on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme. The first day of the Somme, was said to have been the worst, and saw serious of German defeats and the British army suffering 57,470 casualties.
Here at T.H.E our interest has been captured these past few days by this period in history, as if its prisoners of war, we have been swept away into Holford’s historical links with World War One, it doesn’t take much for us delve in!
The nature reserve, which is part of the estate is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and the back drop to the Hall, this beautiful, yet some might say scary place was once very different indeed.
In 1907, brine was discovered on the Holford Estate. Subsequently, this became the original site of the Ammonia Soda company Ltd, which was taken over in 1908 by Brunner Mond ltd. Brine extraction continued being used mainly for the cloth dying industry, and while in their ownership they discovered and then developed a deep shaft mine extraction of rock salt, which was the first of its kind.
During this time it was noted by Manchester Guardian reporter in 1913 that Holford Hall had become quite unrecognisable due to the severe covering of chemical waste, which came billowing from this factory. Hard to imagine it now, only good old British rain clouds today!
With the imminent possibility of war in 1914 and the huge lack of explosives the production of this factory, tucked away in Holford’s wild and wonderful nature reserve, was turned over to making TNT. In 1916 it was put on public record by parliament the great service done by the Ammonia Soda Company in helping and aiding the First World War effort.
Its is believed that during the war large bunkers and air raid shelters were built around the area the nature reserve. However after the war had ended they were sealed off to prevent access!
We at T.H.E are so very greatful to all those who lived and worked on The Holford Estate though this peroid of time, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy Holford as it is today!!