13 July 2008


It was founded circa 650 by a group of Saxons known as Billa's people, which is where the name Billingham is thought to have originated. In modern history, the chemical industry and in particular the company ICI played an important role in the growth of Billingham. Today ICI no longer operates in Billingham, although other chemical companies are working in the area.

With the declaration of the First World War, a high demand for explosives led to a massive expansion of Billingham. In 1917, Billingham was chosen to be the site of a new chemical works supplying ammonia for the war. However, the plant was completed in 1920, after the war had ended. The Brunner Mond Company took over the site, and converted it to manufacture fertilisers. In December 1926, Brunner Mond merged with three other chemical companies to form ICI, who took control of the plant. ICI began to produce plastics at Billingham in 1934.

My first job was with ICI as an Administration Trainee, I worked with the training centre for a number of months, while I gained my qualifications and then went on to my work placement. The next time I came part of Billingham so to speak when I got transferred to another Council department based over at Queensway House in the Town Centre. I have memories of lunch times in the summer sat in the square, watching the kids in the small play area. I used to enjoy going up to the upper level and going to have a Chinese meal.

Billingham Town Centre

In 1967, Billingham Forum was opened by HM the Queen. A sports and leisure complex, it contains a swimming pool, an ice rink, and a number of sports halls. The complex also houses the Forum Theatre. Notable personalities that have performed in the theatre include Arthur Lowe, David Jason, Penelope Keith, Timothy West, Carroll Baker, and Dame Anna Neagle. Roy Chubby Brown performed there for the first time in November 2006; his DVD for 2007 was recorded there as well. This is one of my favourite things to do in Billingham and I have seen some fantastic shows over the years and hope to see many more in the future.

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