AN oil refinery at Fawley was first established in 1921 by the Atlantic Gulf and West Indies Company but the site was acquired by Esso four years later.

It was rebuilt and extended during the 1950s, as shown in this Daily Echo photograph, and today the refinery is the largest in the United Kingdom and one of the most complex in Europe.

The caption on the picture from 1958 reads: “New photo of the 9m (pounds) ‘chemicals from oil’ plant at the Esso oil refinery at Fawley which is being built to supply the new industries springing up adjoining the refinery site – International Synthetic Rubber, Monsanto Chemicals and Union Carbide. The plant will extract butadiene and ethylene during the process of converting crude petroleum to petrol, other oil fuels and lubricants”.