William Henry Perkin: The site of the factory and the grave.

William Henry Perkin is a local chemical hero of mine. The factory where he founded the British (nay, the World) fine organic chemicals industry is in Greenford, just up the road from where we live. The factory used to be close to the Black Horse pub (see below) on the banks of the grand union canal. It is now commemorated merely by a blue plaque placed on the wall of the modern joinery building occupying the location (circled in red on the photo).

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But when BBC TV contacted me to ask where his grave was, a little detective work was needed to track it down to the cemetery in Christchurch, Roxeth (near Harrow-on-the-Hill). 

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And if you ever need to track me down, my office window is the one with the translucent image of a mauveine molecular orbital.

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3 Responses to “
William Henry Perkin: The site of the factory and the grave.

  1. Henry Rzepa says:

    About a year ago, a new high school opened, south of Perkin's factory in Greenford and taking his name. The school crest is interesting; I don't suppose too many school crests incorporate a molecule! This one is of course aniline (and not the mauveine from which Perkin's fame accrues). I do wonder however why they did not pick p-toluidine instead of aniline, which molecule of course is where all those methyl groups in mauveine come. Perhaps there is also a subtle celebration of G. N. Lewis and the shared electron bond there as well (X:X)?

  2. Jim Edwards says:

    When I was young we lived at 459 Oldfield Road just up the road from the BlackHorse pub – now opposite the gates of GSK. It is now a Vets surgery. Anyway we were told that William Perkin once lived in that house – it is a very grand victorian place – but I never proved whether that was true.


    Jim Edwards.

  3. Henry Rzepa says:

    Today, March 12th, 2018, Google celebrate the 180th anniversary of William Perkin’s birth.

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