Redcar Blast Furnace, Middlesbrough, UK
The Teeside Steelworks was a large producer of steel in Middlesbrough, UK. The blast furnace was the largest in the UK.
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Engineering company Dorman Long had established themselves as builders of long-span bridges throughout the north of England. In 1917 they founded the Teesside Steelworks to produce the steel they needed for construction.
Following the Second World War industries such as steel making were being nationalised under the Labour Party, and as such Teesside Steel was incorporated into British Steel Corporation. This remained until 1988 when Margaret Thatcher privatised the industry in 1988 to form British Steel PLC.
The British government had invested £100 Million into British Steel to establish an integrated plant at Redcar capable of producing 12 million tonnes of steel annually. Opening in 1979, the blast furnace was the largest in the UK and the second largest in Europe. It was capable of producing 10,000 tonnes of iron per day. The molten iron produced by the blast furnace was then moved to Lackenby Works to be converted into steel. The associated power station and compressor house was powered by by-products from the blast furnace and coke ovens.
In 1999 the company merged with the Dutch firm Koninklijke Hoogovens to form Corus Group. Corus was subsequently bought by Tata Steel in 2007 but only managed two years of production before mothballing the site following the termination of a large contract.
Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) purchased the dormant steelworks in 2011 and reopened the site the following year. By 2015 international market conditions forced the closure of the site once again, and SSI went into liquidation. The coke ovens were extinguished, essentially spelling the end of steel production at the site, 98 years after the works were founded.
Next we head up the blast furnace…
Control room and offices