Sarah Morgan a social historian and author has made contact with the History of Consett Steelworks (HCSW) project team
Hi, I’ve been researching my great grandfather, Ben Bennison for my next novel. Ben was a coke filler in the Consett Iron Company in 1911 until he went off to fight in WWI.
I don’t suppose you know exactly how and what a coke filler did? Did he push wheelbarrows of coke up to the Bessemer converter, on a gangway??
I have a nice letter from the works manager saying had he not left for the war, he’d have been made a foreman soon. ( He left to manage a coke works in Tondu.) I could send a copy for the archive if it is of interest.
You may have already covered this explosion in Jan 1915 in the blog, if not it may be of interest.
Sarah has agreed for us to do this Blog to share her request and open discussion on the couple of issues she has raised
I’d be pleased for a blog post asking what a cokeman filler did in 1911. I’ll find the letter and send on in the next couple of days. I have a few photos of Ben, mostly from the DLI archive in Durham records office, evocative as in the trenches and marching through Newcastle and off to war.
In 1901 he was already in the steel works, aged 18. Can’t quite see what he’s employed doing in 1901, maybe as a millers man.?? Maybe in the rolling mill? Did they have a rolling mill back then?
Link to Sarah’s blog
So can you help by describing what a Coke Filler’s role was?
Did any of your family work at the Steelworks and then go off to World War 1?
Also any information on the explosion of 1915 would also be welcome
The History of Consett Steelworks (HCSW) project team are delighted we have been approached by Richard Eyers regarding a project he is starting as part of his part time MA university studies
The idea of the Faces of the Works project comes from a part time documentary photography MA course that I’m doing, and seeing the traces of the Steelworks around Consett, and always hearing about it, but knowing little, having only moved into the area twenty years ago.
I want to try and capture memories and faces, and also to picture the new generations in the same families, whilst recording some of your stories.
It would be great to talk to you and to find a place where you would be comfortable being photographed. If you’re open to the idea, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone 07736 674360.
Happy to meet somewhere in Consett, like Morrisons, Wetherspoons, or wherever you would prefer.
There will be regular updates on the HCSW website and Facebook group and in due course we will work with Richard to arrange a “travelling exhibition” and other ways of sharing the results of the project
Another good example of HCSW project team supporting others as part of “recording” the rich history and memories of the Steelworks
Please if sharing credit the website and also the photographer/s
If you have any railway related images that you would consider sharing please do comment or email us and we can arrange support to scan if needed and for the scanned images to shared both to HCSW and also to southpelawjunction websites
The History of Consett Steelworks (HCSW) project are delighted to announce we will be working Billy Ellwood who has some wonderful negatives from the late Tommy Moore to arrange to support scanning and sharing the images
Biily is also “film maker” and made this video “Out of the Wreckage” which recently some “stills” have been shared on the Facebook group recently
We are exploring have a coffee morning every other month from Jan 2022 on a Saturday morning 10am-12am at Consett Methodist Church but would need to ask for donation of £2 as we do have pay for the hire of the venue for the 2 hours at a cost £30.
If anyone would like to do a 1 hour max talk/presentation at one of the coffee mornings please do get in touch
We are also beginning to look at funding applications for various projects next year.
We need to grow the number of subscribers to our website blog as this is something we can add to applications to indicate local interest
If you are happy to be added to receive the blog posts by email please do get in touch or comment and we will get back to you
The History of Consett Steelworks project team are delighted to share and encourage all to visit this display by our heritage partners CDHI
Brian Harrison from CDHI writes
The CDHI have put up a display commemorating the closure of Consett Steel, 41 years this month.
The display can be seen at the front of the Lodge in Blackhill & Consett Park, when the building is open, for the next few weeks.
We plan on doing rolling displays at least once a month from now. If you get a chance to have a pop in we hope you enjoy
More about CDHI
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 10 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).