The Richborough Disaster, 2011.
In 1927, businessman Thomas A Tyndale moved to the small fishing port of Richborough, Kent to start a new business; a project worth equivalent to £5,000,000 today. As the founder of the company Simstell, Tyndale managed the production of fertilization fluids and soon became a large part of the industry in this area. However, in 1936 the nearest sanitation office in Thanet, Kent began to receive reports of an unknown illness by which sufferers developed uncontrollable shaking in the bottom half of the body, thus leaving patients unable to walk. This illness has since become known as Blanetta disease.
Since the cause had not yet been discovered; patients were isolated to prevent the spread of illness. Blanetta disease is a neurological condition by which the central nervous system is attacked; it damages both the sense of smell and basic motor neuron skills, in many instances causing paralysis.
In 1938, studies from Cambridge University revealed that Blanetta disease was caused by certain lithium-based compounds found in polluted water. The discovery was made later that year when the same molecular compounds were found within the human patients. The wastewater being discharged into the local river by Tyndale’s factory was suspected of causing this; however, despite a public outcry and several court trials, no form of justice was ever served.
These photographs show how the port of Richborough looks today. Many of the fishermen who once worked the docks were forced out because it was no longer safe to fish there.