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.

 

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.

Redcar Blast Furnace
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Redcar Blast Furnace

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.

Redcar Blast Furnace - Welcome!
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Welcome!

Redcar Blast Furnace - Base of the huge furnace
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Base of the huge furnace

Redcar Blast Furnace - Closer look at the base
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Closer look at the base

Redcar Blast Furnace - The brain
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Redcar Blast Furnace – The brain

Redcar Blast Furnace - The series of Tuyeres around the base inject a blast of hot air into the furnace
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Redcar Blast Furnace – The series of Tuyeres around the base inject a blast of hot air into the furnace

Redcar Blast Furnace - Close-up of the Tuyeres
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Close-up of the Tuyeres

Redcar Blast Furnace - Heading into the furnace's walkways
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Heading into the furnace’s walkways

Redcar Blast Furnace - Walkways and pipes
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Walkways and pipes

Redcar Blast Furnace - Taphole area, where iron is tapped off from the furnace
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Taphole area, where iron is tapped off from the furnace

Redcar Blast Furnace - Taphole area control booth
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Taphole area control booth

Redcar Blast Furnace - Wider view of the furnace ground building
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Wider view of the furnace ground building

Next we head up the blast furnace…

Redcar Blast Furnace - View up the chimneys
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Redcar Blast Furnace – View up the chimneys

Redcar Blast Furnace - View from the top
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Redcar Blast Furnace – View from the top

Redcar Blast Furnace - Staircases up the furnace
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Staircases up the furnace

Redcar Blast Furnace - Pipe junction
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Pipe junction

Redcar Blast Furnace - Silos half way up
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Silos half way up

Redcar Blast Furnace - View over the furnace from the top
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Redcar Blast Furnace – View over the furnace from the top

Control room and offices

Redcar Blast Furnace - Signing in room
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Signing in room

Redcar Blast Furnace - Office corridor
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Office corridor

Redcar Blast Furnace - Offices were still in use
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Redcar Blast Furnace – Offices were still in use

Redcar Blast Furnace - As close to the control room as we could manage
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Redcar Blast Furnace – As close to the control room as we could manage

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