'The salvation of this district and far beyond': aluminium production and the politics of highland development

Andrew Perchard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Giving evidence before the House of Commons sub-committee considering
    the Lochaber Water Power Bill of 1921 – the statutory instrument for the
    establishment of the British Aluminium Company Ltd’s third Highland
    aluminium smelter and hydro-electric power scheme – the former Provost of Fort
    William, Colin Young, declared: ‘I am a whole hearted supporter of this scheme
    for in it I see the salvation of this district and far beyond.’1
    British Aluminium’s
    other developments in the west Highlands – their two other smelters at Foyers and
    Kinlochleven (opened respectively in 1896, and between 1907 and 1909), as well
    as the Company’s large estates, housing and hydro-electric schemes – had already
    amply demonstrated both the profound economic and social impact both locally
    and on the region as a whole.
    This article is principally concerned with exploring the economic and social
    significance of the aluminium industry to the Highlands and Islands, and its
    importance to the wider political economy of regional development. These
    developments and activities are considered in relation to corporate ‘social action’
    and political activity, appraising the motivations and strategies affecting the
    wider activities of the British Aluminium Company (BACo) in the region. The
    negotiations are examined within the context of a ‘moral economy’, alongside the
    political economic, balancing moral judgements, and local customs and norms,
    against commercial deliberations
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-65
    Number of pages23
    JournalNorthern Scotland
    Volume4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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    Keywords

    • salvation
    • highland district
    • aluminium production
    • politics
    • highland development

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