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Aluminium in the Highlands

Welcome by Dr Andrew Perchard

In a speech at the opening of one of the British Aluminium Company’s works in Greenock in August 1897, the eminent Scottish scientist, Lord Kelvin, declared:

"That magnificent piece of work of the Aluminium Company was the beginning of something that would yet transform the whole social economy of countries such as the Highlands, where water abounded.  He looked forward to the time when the Highlands would be re-peopled to some degree with cultivators of the soil, but re-peopled also with industrious artisans doing the work which that utilization of the water would provide for them.  The British Aluminium works were very popular in the locality… He thought when the time came that every drop of water that now fell over the Falls of Foyers was used for the benefit of mankind, no wise man, no man who ever thought of the good of the people, would regret that the power in the waterfall was developed for the benefit of mankind." (Smith and Wise: 1989)

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