by John Kirk
The remains of the alcohol distillery, mid 1960s
This was how the site of an almost-built alcohol distillery looked in the mid 1960s, though the
exact nature of its intended use before World War II was difficult to ascertain at the time. Now it can be revealed from a newspaper report of 1938 .... and what a story it is!
From the Hull Daily Mail Friday 2nd September 1938:
Effect of North Lincs Distillery Stoppage
Sequel to Power Alcohol Tax
When the Chancellor of the Exchequer placed a tax of 9d per gallon on alcohol fuel he struck a
death blow to a distillery which was being built on a site between Winteringham and South Ferriby, at a cost of £150,000, and which would have brought much work to the district.
Despite the fact that the distillery is almost completed, the company has had to abandon the scheme.
The distillery was being built for Alcol and Solvents, Ltd., to be used for the making of alcohol
for motor fuel. The plant would have been one of the largest, if not the largest, in the country.
It would have provided work for approximately 100 people.
The company cut down the losses by abandoning the scheme. It was quite obvious that it would be impossible for them to produce 50,000 gallons of alcohol per week with a tax of 9d
per gallon and yet make a profit.
Two Years Work
Preliminary work on the plant was started two years ago and it was intended to have the
distillery ready for operation before the end of this year.
So far has the building progressed that until recently cases of machinery were being delivered
to the site and a very large portion of £100,000 had already been spent.
When work was first started on the site all sorts of rumours went round, and there was talk of
oil and oil wells, while when the real truth became known people in the Winteringham district naturally expected that the distillery would provide employment for a considerable number of
people. They were quite right, for should the plant have been completed this year employment would have been found for approximately 100 people. The company are naturally very
disappointed that the building should be crippled by the imposition of a heavy tax, but under the circumstances the only thing they could do was to cease work on it to cut their losses.
Chance for youth gone
The distillery would have employed a particularly good type of labour and would have provided many openings for boys of secondary school education. The work requires special
qualifications, and young men straight from school would, it is understood, have received instruction from experts and afterwards would probably have taken over important positions.
This point makes it all the more regrettable that the scheme had to be abandoned.
One of the promoters of the scheme said today: "We had all the money we wanted. We had all
the material and every bit of plant was there. Then when this 9d tax came along, we worked things out and we have come to the conclusion that even if we put the plant together and get
things going we simply could not pay, so we said 'We've finished.' I can't understand these politicians. Some day, in a case of national emergency, they may need places like these.
Another thing I can't get over is that we had no warning of the increase."