Last workers leave Derby's Celanese Acetate today as plant closes after almost 100 years
A LONE employee leaves the Celanese plant on a bridge which once saw 20,000 workers walk home after their shift.
The scene yesterday was in stark contrast to thriving times at the factory which was once Derby's biggest employer.
Today, after almost 100 years, the machines at the Megaloughton Lane plant will fall silent and the final production worker will walk out of the factory gates.
It is the end of an era for the company, for Spondon and most of all, for the generations of people who have worked at the site.
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The writing has been on the wall for Celanese ever since April, 2010, when its American owner, Celanese Corporation, first announced plans to close the site, which makes acetate tow and flake, used for cigarette filters.
Today, those plans will finally become a reality when the last 130 production staff vacate the factory.
Last night, one employee, Ian Hawley, who has worked there for almost 25 years, said: "Celanese has been a massive part of people's lives. To think that this is finally the end of almost 100 years of production is very sad."
The workers left behind will gradually wind down the plant over the next 18 months, cleaning equipment in readiness for disposal and, ultimately, demolition of the buildings.
Celanese, which is closing the plant due to soaring energy prices, said it was grateful for the "professionalism and dedication" of staff.
*FAREWELL TO CELANESE: Read the full story here.