HCSW Project Coffee Morning Sat 11th Sept Consett Methodist Church 10am-12 noon

The History of Consett Steelworks project team are delighted to announce our first in person event of 2021

A coffee morning on Sat 11th Sept 10am-12 noon at Consett Methodist Church

We will have a rolling video presentation of pictures, maps to enjoy

Please do come along and have a cuppa. We would also love to discuss and see any pictures/documents you may have and explore how we can scan them to add to the website

Refreshments will be available for a small donation to the church

We look forward to seeing you

A Chair from the Company Offices

Serene McGeoghegan wrote on a post on the Consett in Old Photos Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1472194386383321 which is admined by Stephen Bridgewater (worth a look through)

I have in my possession a chair from the British Steel boadroom.

Its a beautiful mahagony or rose wood. It has a bowed back and is chunky in looks I think its called a wrap round back.

I remember my mam polished it. Everything seemed to be polished in those days.

Allways remember the smell though of the steelworks on my dads work clothes and his workboots were red.

Hair slicked back with old spice and good suit and shiny shoes to the Demi and Blackhill Church.

Oh! Shiney shoes and brass was always popluar and brasso sales must have scored high.

It looked such an elagant building and Iv’e heard the interior was magnificent as is my boardroom perhaps its a captians chair.

picture by Serene McGeoghegan
picture posted by Stephen Bridgewater on Facebook group Consett in Old Photos

Do you or family have any other items from the “Company Offices” or pictures of the Boardroom or other rooms in the wonderful building?

The Foundry by Alan Swinburne

 The new Foundry was put into production in July 1959.replacing the old Crookhall Foundry,and was situated at the south end of the old Plate Mill on a site previously occupied by the Soaking Pits for the old Cogging Mill.

It was built to supply the increasing demand for castings by the expanding  Open Hearth Steel Plant.  The metal ,mostly grey iron,was produced in two 15 tons/hour Cupola furnaces which worked in a similar way to a Blast Furnace,but using Pig Iron instead of Ore in the charge. 

The Heavy Bay manufactured Pallet Plates also known as Bottom Plates ranging from 8 tons to 12 tons.

These were used in the Steel Plant as a foundation for the Ingot Mould to be placed on before teeming.In addition to Pallet Plates and Ingot moulds the foundry cast ladles for use in the Blast Furnaces and Steelplant weighing up to 13 tons.

The Light Bay produced Jobbing castings in weights of 1lb to 5 tons for maintenance of all departments within the Steelworks.It was also a good place to get your replacement fire grid for your home fire made!!!.

The foundry also had a small non-ferrous department where castings of up to 500lbs were made.

The foundry operated on a day shift bases and my main duties were temperature measurement during tapping the furnaces and teeming the castings,checking of incoming materials including sand and non ferrous metals along with general Quality Control of finished products. 

Although I enjoyed all my training,my time at the Foundry was one the best placements I had,so much so that when I was transferred to the Plate Mill against my wishes I applied for and got a job at British Leyland Foundry in Coventry,but due to an industrial dispute at BL the job was put on hold and when I was reoffered the job ,circumstances had changed(something to do with  with a member of the opposite sex !) and I stayed at Consett. ot a bad decision as it turned out!!!.

The Foundry was like a large family,almost separate from the main works,were everybody looked after you,but that didn,t stop pranks being played.

On one occasion I was working a Saturday shift overseeing the production of SG Iron in the non ferrous shop.In the break between casts I disappeared to the local betting shop to watch the Grand National promising to be back in time to add the required addition to the next cast.

Unfortunately I was late back and one of the Furnancemen had done my job for me,but found my protective clothing had disappeared.When I enquired where it was,they pointed upwards,and there was my gear on the hook of the “high flyer “crane. It was a strenuous and precarious climb up the vertical ladder to retrieve them – – LESSON LEARNT!!! 

Also you were given responsibility and confidence to deal with senior managerment at a fairly young age.I was sent to present a cost saving report I had produced to Bill Hume ,a senior manager whose office was on the upstairs in the General Offices,I had hardly been in the offices never mind upstairs and found it a daunting experience,so much so that I tapped on his office door which was inches thick and when no one answered  I  returned very quickly to the Foundry telling my boss he wasn’t in.

A quick phone call confirmed  he was in,and I was sent back and told to knock hard this time.I presented my report,Bill thanked me and assured me my recommendations would be implemented.

On return to the Foundry I was told never to  worry about meeting Senior Managers,just remember they were once young nervous employees in their early career,something I  remembered for  the rest of my career.

Some years later I met Bill Hume socially and he asked me if I was still working at the Foundry,he probably remembered more about short meeting than I had!!!.

Just a couple of lifes lessons I learnt which helped me in the following years both pre and post closure.

Railway Accident at Steelworks

Thanks to David Trout for agreeing for this to be shared

Train crash at Consett.In the winter of ( I think) 1959/1960 I photographed this scene of a train wreck at Consett’s Low yard where the interchange sidings between British Rail and Consett Iron Company were situated.

A load of coal trucks hauled by a Class Q6 freight loco lost breaking control on the incline between the site of the town’s former passenger station and the Low Yard and ran off the tracks on a curved embankment adjacent to the town’s engine sheds.

I can’t recall if there were any casualties. The locomotive, No. 63372 became the first of the 120 strong Q6 class to be scrapped.

picture taken by David Trout

picture taken by David Trout
picture by David Trout

If you can add any more details or have other pictures of this incident please comment or get in touch with the HCSW project team

Pictures for Update to Website-Can You help?

The HCSW project team are going to be updating our website over the coming months



We would like to ask for your help to add to the Gallery section of the site with any pictures you might have

We would of course credit you and the original photographer if known and if you can provide a little background like approx year taken, location and any memories about the scene/s that would be most welcome https://historyofconsettsteelworks.com/people/

Scanning of pictures can be arranged

Please comment or get in touch if you can help with pictures for the website

Thank you

Richard Judd

Chair of the HCSW project