Thamesteel Steel Works, Sheerness, UK

Opening in 1972 the steelworks in Sheerness incorporated steel production furnaces and a large rolling mill. The site closed in 2012.

Thamesteel Steel Works, Sheerness
 

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History of Thamesteel, Sheerness

Land on the Isle of Sheppy was acquired in 1968 by the Sheerness Steel Company and work on a steelworks began. Built within the Garrison Town surrounding Sherness Naval Dockyard, the first steel was produced in 1972 and production continued for the next thirty years.

In 2003 the site was sold and the new owners invested heavily into Thamesteel, revitalising the production facilities and rolling mill. A new 95 tonne Fuchs UHP Electric Arc Furnace was installed, replacing the original blast furnace and enabling the recycling of scrap steel, followed by two in-line ladle furnaces to refine the steel before continually casting into billet. The new furnace and further investment in 2006 in a 4 station continuous casting machine increased production from 750,000 to 1 million tonnes.

A large 18 stand rolling mill rolled the billets into straight bar rounds and rebar. In turn this was fed into a 10 stand rod finishing block. The resultant round or ribbed steel rods were then cooled and if necessary, coiled. 1

Thamesteel Sheerness - The large site viewed from the road

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Thamesteel Sheerness – The large site viewed from the road

By the late 2010s the company was experiencing financial difficulties and the threat of closure was realised. A number of measures were put in place to try to save the steelworks but in 2012 negative conditions in the market sealed its fate. The plant closed making all 350 staff redundant.

Talk of the plant reopening continues, but with 250 outstanding unfair dismissal claims to be resolved first, a £3.5 million bill served on the land-owners to remove contaminated waste from the site and the deteriorating state of the structure, re-opening looks very unlikely. 2

Our Visit
I’d wanted to visit this place for a while, so decided to bite the bullet. I had a chat with a few friends, browsed some maps and figured out a route in that looked promising. Noticing no one had visited for quite some time and only a very few reports were on the internet, all mentioning the highly active security patrols and threats that police would be called every time, we knew we were risking a wasted long journey to Sheerness but the potential fruits were worth it. The research paid off and we enjoyed an uninterrupted full day in the steel works. And a full day is needed there, there is so much to see! I thoroughly enjoyed this explore and all the glimmering light beams that change constantly throughout the day, in the company of Kriegaffe9 and Spider Monkey.

 

Electric Arc Furnace Platform

Thamesteel Sheerness - Flooded with colourful light

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Flooded with colourful light

Thamesteel Sheerness - Huge industrial platforms

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Huge industrial platforms

Thamesteel Sheerness - Work areas

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Work areas

Thamesteel Sheerness - Sunlight and silo

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Sunlight and silo

Thamesteel Sheerness - The early morning sun illuminates an electromagnet

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Thamesteel Sheerness – The early morning sun illuminates an electromagnet

Thamesteel Sheerness - Electric Arc furnace control room

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Electric Arc furnace control room

Thamesteel Sheerness - Electric Arc furnace work space

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Electric Arc furnace work space

Thamesteel Sheerness - Electric Arc Furnace ladle

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Electric Arc Furnace ladle

Forging and Casting House

Thamesteel Sheerness - View of casting house from the crane

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Thamesteel Sheerness – View of casting house from the crane

Thamesteel Sheerness - Platforms in the casting house

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Platforms in the casting house

Thamesteel Sheerness - Lids and platforms

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Lids and platforms

Thamesteel Sheerness - Huts and cabins

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Huts and cabins

Thamesteel Sheerness - View from ground level

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Thamesteel Sheerness – View from ground level

Thamesteel Sheerness - Mid-section viewed from above

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Mid-section viewed from above

Thamesteel Sheerness - Selfie in the crane

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Selfie in the crane

Thamesteel Sheerness - Work areas

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Work areas

Thamesteel Sheerness - Lower view of the forging area

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Lower view of the forging area

Thamesteel Sheerness - Huge machine

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Huge machine

Thamesteel Sheerness - Light rays

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Light rays

Thamesteel Sheerness - Masses of machinery

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Masses of machinery

Thamesteel Sheerness - Ladle on crawler transporter in the casting pit

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Ladle on crawler transporter in the casting pit

Thamesteel Sheerness - Ladle in rotating platform

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Ladle in rotating platform

Thamesteel Sheerness - Ladle on transporter

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Ladle on transporter

Thamesteel Sheerness - Lots of ladles

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Lots of ladles

Thamesteel Sheerness - View from crane lifting one of the huge ladles

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Thamesteel Sheerness – View from crane lifting one of the huge ladles

Thamesteel Sheerness - Tipped ladle and mound of material

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Tipped ladle and mound of material

Thamesteel Sheerness - Ladle and crane hook

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Ladle and crane hook

Thamesteel Sheerness - Ladle in archway

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Ladle in archway

Thamesteel Sheerness - Huge ladle in archway above water-filled track

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Huge ladle in archway above water-filled track

Molten Steel Trucks

Thamesteel Sheerness - Sun bursts in behind a truck for carrying molten steel

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Sun bursts in behind a truck for carrying molten steel

Thamesteel Sheerness - Parked in a station

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Parked in a station

Thamesteel Sheerness - Trucks ready for use

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Trucks ready for use

Thamesteel Sheerness - Large digger parked up

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Large digger parked up

Rolling Mill

Thamesteel Sheerness - Part of the 18 Stand Rolling Mill

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Part of the 18 Stand Rolling Mill

Thamesteel Sheerness - Machines for rolling billets into straight bar rounds and rebar

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Machines for rolling billets into straight bar rounds and rebar

Thamesteel Sheerness - Rolling Mill

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Rolling Mill

Thamesteel Sheerness - Control room

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Control room

Thamesteel Sheerness - Computerised control room for the rolling mill

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Computerised control room for the rolling mill

Thamesteel Sheerness - Cooling conveyor

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Cooling conveyor

Thamesteel Sheerness - Cooling conveyor

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Cooling conveyor

Thamesteel Sheerness - Light beams above the conveyors used for cooling finished bar

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Light beams above the conveyors used for cooling finished bar

Thamesteel Sheerness - Tracks and pumps

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Tracks and pumps

Thamesteel Sheerness - Conveyor tracks

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Conveyor tracks

Thamesteel Sheerness - Small control pulpit

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Small control pulpit

Thamesteel Sheerness - Clipboard on control panel

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Clipboard on control panel

Thamesteel Sheerness - Inside control room

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Inside control room

Thamesteel Sheerness - Control pulpit

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Control pulpit

Thamesteel Sheerness - Light beams in finishing area

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Light beams in finishing area

Thamesteel Sheerness - Milling machines

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Milling machines

Thamesteel Sheerness - Milling machine

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Milling machine

Thamesteel Sheerness - Machinery

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Machinery

Thamesteel Sheerness - Machinery in the rolling mill

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Machinery in the rolling mill

Around the rest of the site

Thamesteel Sheerness - Offices

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Offices

Thamesteel Sheerness - Research Lab

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Research Lab

Thamesteel Sheerness - Exhaust ducts

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Exhaust ducts

Thamesteel Sheerness - On top of the cooling towers

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Thamesteel Sheerness – On top of the cooling towers

Thamesteel Sheerness - Arc Furnace Ladles outside

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Thamesteel Sheerness – Arc Furnace Ladles outside

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