Peter Horsman shared a picture of the Steelworks and it made me want to find out more – Did you know or work with Philip?
So I emailed the artist and he kindly has replied
Thank you very much for your message and for your interest in the print.
I only have the one illustration of Consett Steelworks, however I do plan do paint more in the near future if there is enough interest. I formerly worked at the Steel Works, employed as a welder for five years.
I have many memories of the Works. The large chimney being towed at the rear belonged to the Billet Mill, and I remember working inside it when it was erect.
For your interest, I met my wife in the Company and my friend’s Wife, was the Company Director’s Private Secretary. I hope this helps.
By all means, please feature or reference me in your blog and I will be delighted for you to share this also.
Philip Oliver, Artist and Illustrator
Philip’s watercolour depiction of the former ‘Consett Iron Company’ in County Durham. It is 40 years this September since the closure of Consett steel works. The industry was Consett’s biggest employer with 3,700 workers directly employed and supporting another 7,000 jobs indirectly. Whilst County Durham had many coalfields, Consett was renowned for its steel production. The iron company was founded in 1840 to exploit the area’s natural resources of iron ore, coking coal and limestone. Consett’s Iron Company however began steel production in 1889, boasting the largest steel plate factory in the world.
A few years later in 1894, the town of Consett was said to be the largest manufacturer of steel in the world. Steel from Consett was used in the construction of Blackpool’s famous tower, ships and more recently, for nuclear submarines. Consett boomed and consequently, developed housing, a Hospital and a vast rail marshalling infrastructure. The Consett Iron Company peaked during World War Two when 12,000 workers were employed. During the 1960’s, the steelworks had been nationalised as British Steel.
Philip’s painting is set in the late 1960’s and it features a pair of AEC tractor haulage units arriving into the Steel Works with a long and heavy load. The artist has captured the dramatic scene in the background of the many chimneys belching out red smoke. This was a result of the iron oxide, appearing rusty red in colour and fell across the Town as what was locally referred to as ‘red dust’. On the 12th September 1980, the works closed, and steel production ceased, leaving a devestating impact upon the town. Not a trace of this scene remains today.
This is a high quality, giclee print. Only 750 produced and signed exclusively by the artist.
Thanks to Philip Oliver for his interaction and allowing us to share this print and a little of story behind it
Consett & District Heritage Initiative are a voluntary organisation.
The group was founded in May 2010 with the goal to make the history of our area accessible to all.
We believe in education and have already given numerous school display’s and talks.
In the past 6 years we have also had numerous open days and seen 1000’s people through our doors.
Our Archives are growing at a steady rate with donation’s of photo’s, postcards, books and artefacts and we hope this continues.
Through archiving and sharing of information we hope to save our history for the future generations.
We are based in The Lodge, Blackhill & Consett Park where we have our office on the second floor.
The Lodge is located just up from the bottom gates on the left.
Our office is open every Wednesday from 10am -4pm for anyone interested in finding out more about our local history or to give help with your family history (Tuesday 10-12.30).- note currently closed due to the Covid Pandemic
the History of Steelworks Project are delighted to partner with and work with CDHI. Did you go and see their display at Tesco in Sept 2020 for example. We look forward to supporting and promoting each others activities as we go forward
Have you walked all or part of the Heritage Trial?
What are you thoughts?
Please do share any pictures
More about the Trail and a map on the #vistitconsett website
Description from the Visit Consett Website
The Heritage Trail project was conceived to create and enhance a footpath to celebrate Consett’s heritage and industrial history. In linking our tourism and heritage assets across the town to the stunning countryside, the Trail encourages both visitors and residents alike to explore North West Durham.
Taking in existing footpaths and following parts of the C2C cycle route, the Heritage Trail has magnificent views across areas of outstanding natural beauty and as Consett is close to world-renowned tourist attractions such as Beamish Museum and Durham City, it is the perfect place to visit.
The Project Genesis trust is known locally for developing the community assets across the town, including the Consett Urban Park, Fawcett Part, improvements to the C2C route and the Grove Ponds site.
As the Trail is a circular route, walkers can start at any point. Consett town centre is linked to the Derwent River Valley, via the Hownsgill Viaduct and up through the Grove Ponds. All the footpaths have been improved or created with ample signage for locals and tourists to find out more about our Industrial Heritage.
Improvements to the car parks and the addition of picnic tables at specific points on the Trail, mean walkers can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the stunning countryside and access sites such as the former steelworks pumphouse and the Hownsgill Funicular Railway which had been lost to public access and awareness for several decades.
Walking the Heritage Trail
Length of route: 6km (without detours)
Time to walk: approximately 3 hours
Parking is available adjacent to the Trail at Lydgetts Junction and at Pemberton Road. It is a short walk to the Trail from Allensford car park. There are dedicated Heritage Trail way markers throughout the walk. Follow orange arrows for a clockwise route, and green arrows for anticlockwise.
The Trail is unsuitable for cycles, except where it coincides with the National Cycle Routes 7 and 14.
The paths have mostly been surfaced; unsurfaced paths may become muddy and therefore suitable footwear should be worn. Any steep sections of the trail are marked as such, but they are not very long. Please take care on sections of the Trail where the path narrows or becomes steep.