SAI

Scottish Agricultural Industries

Fertiliser manufacturers  -   Chemical Plant at Leith Docks

 

SAI

SAI History

   Edinburgh at Work  -  Scottish Agricultural Industries (SAI ) fertiliser plant at Leith Docks

I visited the Scottish Agricultural Industries (SAI) plant at Leith Docks in August 1991, the year that the plant closed.  It was due to be cleared

SAI was founded around 1880.  In the 1940s it merged with several other firms, and became a subsidiary of ICI (either then or later).  The SAI plant at Leith Docks was last remaining SAI plant to operate in Scotland.  However, its closure was announced on February 28, 1991.

Manufacture

SAI manufactured:

-  phosphoric acid

-  sulphuric acid

-  nitric acid

using:

-  sulphur from Mexico, Holland, France and elsewhere

-  phosphates from Russia, Senegal, Morocco and elsewhere.

SAI reached a peak in 1984, then employing 2,000 workers in Scotland, including 340 in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Scottish Agricultural Industries (SAI ) fertiliser plant at Leith Docks

The spheres in this photo were built to store ammonia.

Decommissioning

At the time of my visit in 1992, there were only three SAI employees left in Edinburgh to decommission the plant, including Douglas Gillespie, seen standing in front of the plant in this photo.  Douglas had worked for SAI since 1958.  He helped to install both the previous nitric acid plant and the new nitric acid plant at Leith Docks

Edinburgh at Work  -  Scottish Agricultural Industries (SAI ) fertiliser plant at Leith Docks

The new nitric acid plant was described as 'state of the art'.  It was only 4 years old and had worked well.  The company hoped to sell it for further use in Southern Ireland.  It was estimated that it would cost 8m to move the plant, as against 30m to build a new plant.

Reply

1.

James Greig

Edinburgh

Thank you to James Greig who wrote:

SAI in Leith

"I came across the page about SAI in Leith ...

Edinburgh at Work  -  Scottish Agricultural Industries (SAI ) fertiliser plant at Leith Docks

 but I couldn't see any mention of the large area of land that the SAI used to occupy in the 1960's.

The Bell

The front of the building faced onto Bowling Green Street.  I can remember it well as a child as they used to have a bell at the front entrance.  I remember, as kids, we used to try and hit the bell with stones to make it chime."

James Greig, Edinburgh:  June 24, 2014

 

SAI photos

Edinburgh at Work

 

__________________