Future in Action

Future in Action

Concrete – One Of Britain’s Greatest Inventions

Some of you may have seen the BBC 2 programme called Britain’s Greatest Inventions last Thursday where viewers got to ‘vote’ between several British inventions for which one was the best.

Amongst the selection was:  antibiotics, the fridge, the jet engine, the mobile phone, the steam engine and the television.

Our product, often an unsung hero or even seen as a blight, was also one of the hopefuls.  Joseph Aspdin’s invention of Portland Cement in 1824 – The invention that shaped the horizon – was nominated and championed by DIY SOS’s Nick Knowles.  Although beaten to the title by antibiotics, the show is well worth a view – especially after a hard day at work when you wonder if it’s all worth it!  You can even see a CEMEX mixer in the background half way through!

It will make you appreciate the value of what we produce daily and that the world as we know it wouldn’t exist without it!  Below is a summary of the pitch and you can catch the whole programme on BBC 2 i-player by following this link:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctwo

Summary: This is the most used man-made material on Earth. Each year we produce around three tonnes of it for every person in the world – that’s enough to cover the surface of the Moon in an inch of it in just 100 years.

Now, 70% of the global population live in homes made with concrete, and without it the world would be stuck in the 18th Century.

Concrete has given us sewage systems, modern hospitals capable of dealing with a rapidly growing populations, stadiums and skyscrapers. It has given us affordable housing and it formed the foundations of the welfare state.

It helped us win WW2 by allowing the D-Day landings and was crucial for launching man into space as one of the only materials capable of tolerating the thrust of a rocket launch.

Its impact can be seen in every part of your life – look around your living room and concrete will almost certainly play a role, and if you look out your window, chances are that the horizon you see is completely shaped by it.