Exhibition at Fleetwood on the ICI Coasters

Bill Forster
20th February 2009, 17:02
My father was only once on a coaster in forty years at sea.

He was the first Chief Engineer on MV THORIUM when it was built for the ICI Alkali Division at Fleetwood in 1947. Fifty five years later it sank in the Black Sea - the crew were rescued.

I passed on all that I found out about the ICI coasters to Danny O'Neil, the retired PR Manager for ICI Alkali Division at Fleetwood, and he has organised an exhibition of photographs about the Alkali Division and the coasters which will be held in March this year in the Fleetwood Library.

I hope you may be able to attend but whether you can or not please do draw the exhibition to the attention of fellow shipmates and friends with an interest in coasters and / or Fleetwood.

Danny has issued the following Press Release:-


Starting on the 1st March to the 28th March 2009 there will be a display of old photos of ICI at Fleetwood Library up-stairs in display cabinets. This is to introduce a major display of old ICI photos that will feature in the ICI room at Fleetwood Museum starting this April.

The displays at the library will include photos and information of the old ICI boats. This includes details on crew members receiving the George Cross medal for bravery. Leo Johnston a Fleetwood man who worked on the boats, helped put the exhibition together and provided names of other seaman, he said, “It was like going down memory lane. Bill Forster, a publisher from Hertfordshire contacted me and said his father had worked on the ICI boats and he had gathered a great deal of information on them. He contacted Danny O‚Neill who suggested we did an exhibition in the library and the museum. I was only to willing to help. Bill Forster also provide text alongside the photos.” Photos of Fleetwood Alkali works and employees, and ICI‚s work within the community will also feature.
We are please to say that there are also photos of the Preesall salt mines, featuring the miners and ladies packing Fleetwood salt. The only surviving pure white salt crystal from the Preesall mines will also be on display.

NPL Estates Ltd, the company who are developing Hillhouse International Business Park and who have sponsored this exhibition, will display pictures of companies onsite now through substantial private financial investment over recent years and future plans, including their continuing philanthropic efforts to the local community.

Danny O‚Neill the retired ICI Hillhouse Public Relations Manger said,
“This is a great opportunity for retired employees and the local community to revisit the past. They may even see some of their relatives on the photos. In April the large exhibition of photos etc which is planned for the ICI room in the Fleetwood Museum will show some previously unseen photos, furthermore those who are interested will be able to order copies of them and this will help to raise funds for the Fleetwood Museum Trust.”

Lynn Aghar Assistant Museum officer said,
“It is hoped that the prelude of photos in Fleetwood Library will lead to a great deal of interest in the future display at Fleetwood Museum.
There is a lot to see in Fleetwood Museum, from the fishing industry, tourism and of course the ICI salt mine and display.”

Bill Forster
21st February 2009, 15:06
I should have mentioned that oddly enough, the place to look for details of the ICI Coasters is NOT on the "Coaster Forum" but on "Mess Deck" where a topic on "ICI Boats" has been running for some time.

SEE: https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=16823&highlight=Alkali

I thought I ought to start a new topic here, a more appropriate place to look.


Bill Forster
24th February 2009, 11:06
A reminder that the display of photographs about the coasters plus accompanying descriptive text starts on Sunday at the Fleetwood Library.

And I ought to point out a small error in my original posting. Danny O'Neil was the ICI Hillhouse Public Relations Manager - not Alkali.


Bill Forster
27th March 2009, 00:06
The exhibition in the Fleetwood Library closes on Friday.

BUT it will transfer to the ICI Room in the Museum & reopen on the 1 April.

Bill Forster