Fison’s Fertiliser Factory

Note the video is from 2012 prior to the professionalization of our videos

A recolouring by Liam Heatherson of the extant section

A recolouring by Liam Heatherson of the extant section back in 1959

Fisons plc was a British multinational pharmaceutical, scientific instruments and horticultural chemicals company with the headquarters in Ipswich. The business was established by Edward Packard in 1843. In 1863 he was joined in business by his son, also named Edward, who was developing the business and rationalising the UK’s fertiliser industry. The business was incorporated in 1895 under the name of Edward Packard and Company Limited. the section remaining today is merely the far eastern end, and the rest of the site isn redeveloped apart from the water toawer that can be seen for miles.

In 1919 it bought a fertiliser business founded by James Fison of Thetford in 1808 and in 1929 the parent company’s name was changed to Packard and James Fison (Thetford) Limited to reflect the acquisition. – As they had many factories, I couldn’t find much information about this specific factory however his factory produced fertilizer for farms and was opened in 1959. The company went defunct in the mid 90’s, but the factory could have been closed in the mid 80’s when its fertilizer activities were sold to Norsk Hydro in 1982 – I believe it was closed in this year.

2016 Visit
2013 Visit
2012 Visit
Photographs of the 1959 Opening Brochure

We do not own the opening brochure or included images photographed above, although I was able to take my own photographs of the booklet. For this reason the photographs unfortunately will have to feature a large watermark over them.

Some technical bits fr0m here:

At their new factory in Stanford-le-Hope Essex, Fisons Fertilizers Limited began in 1959 the manufacture of ammonium nitrate for use in Fisons compound fertilisers. This salt provides nitrogen, one of the three essential elements of all plant food, with resultant advantages to the farmer. As a starting material for the manufacture of ammonium nitrate, anhydrous ammonia of high purity (99.9 per cent minimum, with an oil content of 15 p.p.m. maximum) is used, and is purchased from an adjacent plant operated by Shell Chemical Company Ltd at Shell Haven. Here ammonia is made synthetically from the nitrogen of the air and from hydrogen obtained from oil by the Shell gasification process, and is delivered to Fisons by pipeline as a liquid under pressure. The ammonia is stored on the Fison site in a 2,000-ton insulated spherical tank, the largest of its kind in Europe, at 55 p.s.i.g. and 4’C. The raw material is converted by two processes into ammonium nitratefirst, by catalytic oxidation followed by absorption to form nitric acid, and second, by neutralisation of the acid with further ammonia to produce a hot concentrated (88 per cent) solution of ammonium nitrate in water, which is despatched by road and rail to Fisons compounding factories in various parts of the country. We shall be concerned here only with the catalytic process for making nitric acid.

The Company formally changed its name to the shorter Fisons Ltd in 1942. During the 1950s, Fisons promoted the spraying of crops utilising helicopters. – The Hiller UH-12 helicopter used in 1955 by Fison-Airwork to demonstrate the use of aerial crop spraying.

The pipes (there are 5 in a row) were used to load ammonia onto waiting trains (there are also remains of some train tracks nearby).


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