The Perkin factory at Greenford Green, Middlesex, c 1870.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A view of the Perkin & Sons dyestuff factory showing a straight section of the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union Canal), posibly taken by William Henry Perkin himself. From a collection of 19 photographs relating to Perkin (1838-1907), his family and the synthetic dyestuffs industry. In 1856, whilst attempting to synthesise quinine for the treatment of malaria, Perkin managed to extract a brilliant purple dye, subsequently named mauveine. His manufacture of this and other aniline dyes was a great commercial succes and he went on to create the modern synthetic dyestuffs industry and introduce a new range of colours into human life. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1866 and knighted in 1906.