Fawley, Hampshire

Fawley, Hampshire

Fawley is a village and parish in Hampshire, England.

It is situated in the New Forest on the western shore of the Solent, approximately 7 miles (11 kilometres) south of Southampton. Fawley is also the site of an oil refinery, operated by Exxon-Mobil, which is the largest facility of its kind in the United Kingdom. Fawley Power Station is also located less than a mile to the south east of the village.

The village of Fawley

A settlement has existed at Fawley for many centuries, and the village itself was recorded in the Domesday Book. Other areas in the parish can boast remains from the Stone Age and Roman occupation. According to the Open Churches Trust, a church at Fawley was first recorded in 971. The present church (All Saints) was built between 1170 and 1340 [http://www.openchurchestrust.org.uk/Fawley.htm] . This church still exists and is the parish church of much of the surrounding area. The arrival of the Esso oil refinery in 1921 transformed a sparsely populated agricultural area into an industrial centre with a population of around 14,500. Modern Fawley is smaller and less populous than its more recently founded neighbours, Blackfield and Holbury, but remains the administrative centre of the parish.

Other villages within the parish of Fawley include Calshot, and Lepe, which both possess shingle beaches and attract significant numbers of tourists and local visitors during the summer months.

Fawley oil refinery and chemical works

An oil refinery was first established at Fawley in 1921 by the "Atlantic Gulf and West Indies Company". The site was chosen because a large amount of land was available for development, as the area was not heavily populated, and because of Fawley's position on the Solent. This provided access to the large amount of water used in the refining process, and also made it possible for crude oil to be brought to the site in ocean tankers by sea. Proximity to Southampton was also a factor, as at the outset much of the plant's output was used to supply liners using Southampton docks.

The refinery is now owned by Esso, which acquired the site in 1925. It was rebuilt and extended in 1951 and is now the largest oil refinery in the United Kingdom. The site also houses a chemical facility operated by Exxon Mobil and Nalco. As in earlier years, crude oil is brought to the site in tankers, making use of the docks which extend for 1.5 kilometres and are the largest independently owned docks facility in Europe. Over 3,000 people (including many contractors) are employed at the site.

External links

* [http://www.fawley-hants.co.uk Fawley Parish Council homepage]
* [http://www.fawleyonline.org.uk Community website for Fawley]
* [http://www.fawleychurch.org.uk Fawley Churches]
* [http://www.exxonmobil.co.uk/UK-English/files/welcome_fawley.pdf "Welcome to Fawley" - an introduction to Fawley's oil refinery from Exxon Mobil]
* [http://www.thenewforest.net New Forest Community Media] - A not-for-profit media site serving the National Park

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