This picture appeared in promotional material published in the late 1980's by G.A Harvey Ltd. Even though the subject is the G.A.Harvey factory site the neighbouring Thor Chemical site can be seen in the original layout before the Thor extension was built. The site originally belonged to the Margate Catering Company and was an orchard, the wooded area at the rear of the site were mainly fruit trees that had self seeded when the orchard was abandoned. During the Second World War a Home Guard unit was based on the site and there was an ammunition dump stored somewhere in the old railway siding that ran through the back of the site from the bridge at Nash Road to the Home Guard base on the site. The Home Guard, Guarded the ammunition somewhere in the area.
Between the wooded area and the first white building is waste land and the empty blue chemical containers and drums were stored in that area , there was also a system of stacking them on top of each other . The white building and tower was the storage and processing plant and the "L" shaped building was the reception area and office block. When the site was extended everything from the waste land area through to the woodland was removed down to chalk level. The new extension as seen today was then constructed on the chalk base and the remaining area was re landscaped with new soil.
The Harvey site was bought out by Steelcase and closed in October 2003. Before Steelcase moved out the Environment Agency carried out tests on the Steelcase site for any industrial contamination as the site was going to be sold on the open market. So there is recent data taken from the East of the site. The Steelcase site was sold to Pearce Signs and when Pearce Signs moved out the site was redeveloped into smaller units.
When the Thor chemical was in production G.A.Harvey operated a wet paint plant and there was an extensive use of solvents, Rovex was processing plastic and Emco Wheaton was casting metal. All these processes resulted in air pollution at the time and could be easily be mistaken for the process at Thor chemicals. The original soil in the area has been removed, so that only leaves any evidence in the chalk if any from Thor.
However, the biggest source of Mercury pollution in Thanet has been overlooked, which just happens to be the Crematorium. Imagine how many mecury based dental fillings that have been evapourised at the Crematorium in the 1970's and 1980's.
During the G.A Harvey office manufacture the paint plant was solvent based and all waste was stored adjacent to the Thor site at the side of the factory. There was also a narrow strip of land that went behind the Thor site and on that land was a number of skips where the used solvent and paint containers were dumped. Drums of used waste paint, solvent and thinners awaiting collection were on pallets and the ground smelt of paint and thinners. When Thor extended they purchased this strip of land after G. A Harvey had cleared the site. In the left hand corner of the picture the wooded area ends and behind that the entrance to the strip of land can be seen and where the dumping skips begin. The reason why everything was pushed into this area was because of the lorry movements and lorry container storage.