The History and Origins of the Old Paint Company ~ Resinous Chemicals Ltd



      Resinous Chemicals [ R.C.L.]   Dunston          
      Resinous Chemicals came into being from British Paints resin manufacturing operation on Tyneside.      

British Paints had started to manufacture in-house resins for their own paint production in the mid 1930's. With the outbreak of WW.II, it was agreed that steps should be taken to protect paint production in the event of bombing. The likelihood of air-raids was considered to be particularly high due to Tyneside being a major centre for armaments and ship building. Early in the war, the decision was therefore taken to purchase another site nearby as a “shadow” factory to ensure continuity of production should Portland Road become damaged. The site chosen, a former paper mill belonging to the Reed Paper Company, was about 4 miles upstream from Newcastle at what is now the home of RCL operations at Dunston-on-Tyne. Initially only about half the present site was purchased, the other part remaining in use as a paper mill until the late 1940`s when the remainder of the site was bought. By the second half of the war, the threat from enemy bombing had receded. British and Paints decided  to use the Dunston site for resin manufacture. The first new kettle was installed in late 1943 and the following year saw the original plant transferred from Portland Road. From 1944 all resin production was concentrated at the Dunston site and additional new 5 cubic metre kettles continued to be installed until 1953. Apart from some of the very small kettles, all are mostly still in use bearing their original numbers.


Originally conceived as a supplier to the parent paint company only, it was decided to expand activities by selling to external customers. There was however a perceived problem, i.e., that a manufacturing arm of British Paints seen to be selling resins to its competitors in the paint industry. It was therefore decided have a separate operation to sell resins outside of the British Paints organisation. It was during a visit George Weatherston made to Rohm and Haas in the USA, that he noticed their resins were being sold under the name of Resinous Products. This gave him the idea of a suitable name for the embryo resin division and so it was on the first of January 1950 that Resinous Chemicals Limited came into being.


One of the product types included in the various licensing agreements was phenol form-aldehyde resins or phenolics as they were often known and moulding compounds based on these resins were one of the first plastic materials available. A small plant was set up at Dunston in 1947 to manufacture phenolic moulding compounds which were used for making such things as distributor caps for cars and light switches. Meanwhile the parent company had acquired a new site further up the Tyne at Blaydon and the moulding compound venture was soon transferred there. As well as moulding compounds, the Blaydon site soon began to manufacture decorative laminates which also used phenolic resin produced at Dunston. This type of material is better known by the brand name of a competitive product, i.e. “Formica”. The laminate operation went under the name of North British Plastic. A third product type was also manufactured at Blaydon, namely shell moulding compounds. These contained ground up solid phenolic resins, also produced at Dunston, and in combination with sand were used for making foundry moulds and grinding wheels.




This page is being developed as more information on the history of Resinous Chemicals is received / comes to light. We welcome any information on the company's history and development as well as any documentation, photos, maps, etc, of the company.

      We believe that when R.C.L at Dunston was closing an article was written for a magazine giving the history and development of the site.        
      If anyone has a copy of this article or knows where we can obtain a copy, please advise.      

Additional information to the history of Resinous Chemicals is most welcome.