A Painting by Philip Oliver

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. 

Many Thanks 

Kind Regards,

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

Have you purchased one of the prints?

Richard Judd

Chair of the HCSW Project

2 thoughts on “A Painting by Philip Oliver”

  1. Hi Richard and HCSW

    Thanks for the regular newsletters – lots of really interesting stories that are being shared.

    I’m now back to my normal working hours after being on furlough and I’m keen to pick up on earlier conversations for Land of Oak & Iron to work in partnership with HCSW and other heritage groups in some way.

    Are you now based at The Lodge?

    Hopefully we can catch up and have a chat about possible projects.

    Best wishes

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Hi Susan

    Good to hear from you and glad to see you now back working

    We would be delighted to follow up and discuss partnership opportunities

    Victoria can chat to you about the Collabration group in due course

    When you can give me a call *but not tomorrow 12th May on 07786014793 and we can start from there




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