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A woman burning kelp

A drawing of a woman in Northumberland burning kelp. Before the development of industrial chemical processes, kelp burning was an important source of sodium carbonate. The resulting soda 'ash' was used in the making of bleach, soap, glass and pottery. Seaweed was a significant resource for many of Britain's outlying islands, where traces of the gatherers' beachside huts can still sometimes be found.

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