Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
In St. Andrew's Road look out on the right for the old entrance to British Dyes (the name can just be made out over a large stone gateway). In 1830, Read Holliday rented a site in Leeds Road where he began to distil ammonia for use in wool scouring. In 1839 he moved to this site nearer to the gasworks where he could take advantage of one of their by-products, coal tar. By distilling the tar Holliday produced naphtha and creosote oil. This was the start of the chemical industry in the town. Later, Holliday played a pioneering role in the production of dyestuffs from chemicals. During the Boer War the firm started to produce picric acid and because of the explosive nature of the product (picric acid is the base component of lyddite) the picric acid sheds were sited on the other side of the river from the main factory. This proved to be a wise move for in May, 1900 there was a massive explosion which destroyed one of the sheds. In 1915, Hollidays merged with Levinsteins of Manchester under the name of British Dyes. Shortly afterwards the company expanded to a new site between Dalton and Leeds Road where, during the First World War, they concentrated once again on the production of explosives. Further amalgamations in 1926 resulted in the nationwide Imperial Chemical Industries, certain branches of which now trade as Zeneca.