The History of Consett Steelworks (HCSW) project team have a wish to work with all to “record” details of all the accidents at Steelworks during its “working life”
The conditions of course did lead to accidents which resulted in injuries and deaths
If you would consider being part of the “working party” to begin to build an interactive resource/database that all can see now but also for future generations too
This will build on work like the following book
Consett Iron Works: Deaths and Injuries 1850-1900
There is a great book by local author Craig Suddick
Caught between the constant changes in company structure, strikes and the regular opening and closing of parts of the Consett Iron Works, life in and around Consett was hard and it should surprise no-one that it was a dangerous and often deadly place to work.
Although the 20 miles of railway tracks, 64 boilers and more than 80 furnaces that existed in 1860 (and which increased in number as time went on) were the three main contributors of death and injury, the whole of the iron making process, from start to finish, was a dangerous and often deadly undertaking.
Between 1850 and 1900, with the use of contemporary newspaper reports, the author has identified more than 50 fatal events and many injuries which occurred at the Consett Iron Works and its associated works.
This book looks at each of these deaths and injuries to give a flavour of what life was like at one of the biggest iron works of its time.
The History of Consett Steelworks project team would like to ask all to consider subscribing to our website blog
So you get a copy emailed to you when they are published
Will help with future funding applications and discussions with partners if we can show a viewable figure of interactors/interested parties
We would also welcome contributions for the Blog from anyone who worked at the Steelworks who might want to share their memories like for example Alan Swinburne. Steve Shields and Philip Brown have done
Also an invite to local heritage groups to do a guest blog
Either comment or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Thompson (daughter) has agreed for the following to be shared
Announce death of (red) Ray Thompson of Castleside.
He started at CIC as an apprentice electrician around 1946 when he was 14, working alongside many women who continued their wartime service at the works in the years immediately after the end of World War 2.
Apart from a period of broken service in the 1960s while he built his beloved house at Castleside, he worked at British Steel till the closure in 1979, serving as electricians’ convenor and Union rep for the EEPTU.
A staunch socialist, Ray could be uncompromising and sometimes did not see eye to eye even with other union men, especially if he felt their views were not aligned with the will of the people, from whence he derived his mandate.
Ray retained his socialist principles to the end, preferring to die at home rather than unnecessarily costing his beloved NHS the unnecessary expense of an ambulance.
Despite multiple serious illnesses, blindness and deafness he never once complained. And he fought bravely to the last.
He spent his last minutes with his daughters and grandchildren, finally at peace and pain free – a good death for a good man.
Image taken by Peter Brabban
Val Boyle wrote the following on the HCSW Facebook group and has agreed for it to be added to this post
What a wonderful man he was. I feel lucky to have met him and privileged to have worked with him on Tales of Derwentdale.
If it wasn’t for Ray, I’d never have found out about J.W.Fawcett, and his campaign to get a gravestone for one of his heroes was typical of this lovely, principled, clever, funny man.
Ray, you’re a hero of mine too.
on reply to me asking if ok to share
Yes, of course, thank-you Richard. It’s an honour to be associated with him at all.
Here’s another photo from the speech he gave at the launch of the book in the Lodge at Blackhill Park.
Ray at a Book Launch- Here’s another photo from the speech he gave at the launch of the book in the Lodge at Blackhill Park. shared by agreement thanks to Val Boyle
As a child, Arthur was born in Templetown in 1937. He was the eldest of four children, went to Consett School and loved playing in the fields around his home as a child.
He worked at the steelworks for 10 years from 1953-1963. He started working at the steelworks at 16, as a bricklayer.
He put bricks in the massive blast furnaces to stop the metal heating up when it melted the steel.
Arthur also covered the coolers with bricks. He earnt £7-13 a week, which was a lot back then. In one year, he received around £1000 in total!
Although he only had a protective cap and mask, he loved his job there. He was just pleased he did not have to wear a uniform. Surprisingly, Arthur never felt claustrophobic in the tight spaces he worked in.
Arthur started working at the Steelworks three years after the 1950 disaster. It could be a dangerous job, one day at work someone poured liquid metal down one of the furnaces where he was working, burning both of his legs.
Arthur also lost two of his toes whilst working at the steel works. That just proves how dangerous working there really was!
His brother, father and uncles also worked at the steelworks. Arthur was never seriously affected by the red dust but it did irritate him, but others were not that lucky. For him, red dust was just normal, but he does remember the smell of sulphur in the air.
Arthur made many unforgettable and life-changing memories working at the steel works such as meeting the love of his life, his wife.
She worked at the steel works too, in an office as a typist, like many other women at the time. Arthur worked there for 10 years, for 8 hours a day, and his wife worked at the steelworks for 6 years.
Overall, Arthur loved working there, Arthur said “Even though some people hated the steelworks, I loved working there as the friendship and community spirit was great. I met many friends there’.