CDHI new website-do check it out

The Trustees of the Consett & District Heritage Initiative (CDHI) have launched a new website

Link for Website page about the Consett Steelworks

Its a well put together site with some great articles and galleries

Do take a look

Their Facebook group link is


Accidents at Consett Steelworks- Research Call Out

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.

If you would like to help please comment or send the HCSW project team an email

CIC Garage Reunion 23rd April 2022

Billy Robson is arranging a Reunion for employees of the CIC Garage to be held on 23rd April 2022 at 6.30pm in the snooker club opposite Gralands in Consett

Did you or a family member work in the Garage?

Please comment or get in touch so you can be put in touch with Billy

Any pictures, stories or memories would be welcome

CIC Garage picture supplied by Ken Glendinning

Subscribe to Blog All Welcome and invite other

The History of Consett Steelworks project team would like to ask all to consider subscribing to our website blog

  1. So you get a copy emailed to you when they are published
  2. 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

The Workers Album- All Welcome

The History of Consett Steelworks project team have started a Workers Album our Facebook page

Link for Workers Album on History of Consett Steelworks Facebook Page

If you or a member of your family would like to be added to album it is easy

We need

  1. Name
  2. A picture
  3. Indication of what roles were and when
  4. Any more information or memories you can share

We can also offer to work with you to do a Consett Story blog post if you would like to do that

please comment or email us to discuss being added to the album

Happy New Year 2022 from the History of Consett Steelworks Project

The History of Consett Steelworks project team would like to wish all a good and safe 2022

We thank all for your interest and contributions so far, if you have a story. pictures or documents to share please either post on our Facebook group or send us an email

Keep an eye out for 2022 events as these are confirmed

We would also welcome volunteers to assist with

  1. Photo archiving and logging
  2. Adding and managing the content of the website
  3. Be part of the Mapping Group – read more here
  4. If you have memories or would like to do a Consett Story or guest blog please do get in touch

If you would like to get involved do get in touch

Facebook group link


Gas Pipeline from Derwenthaugh Coke Works to Consett Steelworks

An interesting comment and follow up on the HCSW Facebook group

Charlie Smith wrote

There was a gas line from s to Templeton brick flats

Robert Gowland wrote

It was completed when George Lonie was Fuel Engineer.

The line was Derwenthaugh up to road near Whickham Golf Course along to Pickering Nook following old railtrack up to Delves all underground.

It was then on Concrete Supports Hownsgill Plate mill to Fell Coke Works.

The N.C.B. negotiated the Wayleaves to the Works from Team Valley Coal House Headquarters and the line installation including the Gas Booster Station at Derwenthaugh.

Consett Works Engineering were responsible work on its own land.

Ted Jeffries (a Leadgate Lad) was the Section Leader supervising the line design – expansion joints, supports etc., It saved Gas being wasted by being flared at DH.

Another First for Consett Works.

Land of Oak and Iron link re the Derwenthaugh Coke Works- they do some guided walks on occasion

Crowley Ironworks & Derwenthaugh Coke Works

Article about the re-use of old Coke Works land

Also a short video by Land of Oak and Iron

HCSW Blog post

Also see a lovely post from Alfred the Dog and Rob Moran

Source and thanks to Winlaton and District Local History Society

Source and thanks to Land of Oak and Iron from a video by them –

Did you work at the Coke Works?

Did you help with the install or maintenance of the pipeline?

In memory of (red) Ray Thompson

RAY THOMPSON20 December 1931 – 15 December 2021

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.

Val Boyle and Ray Thompson at a launch event for the revised Tales of Derwentdale by the publication group of Land of Oak & Iron Trust –

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

HCSW Project delighted to Be members of County Durham Forum for History & Heritage

The History of Consett Steelworks Project is delighted to support other local and sometimes national heritage groups

We have been delighted to be members of the County Durham Forum for History & Heritage for the last year with a FREE membership due to COVID

We have just renewed our membership (£20 for the year)

Membership has enabled us to interact and share information with the member organisations

Also Margaret Hedley the Honourary Chair gave a wonderful Zoom Talk on Women of the Coalfield

More about Margaret and her writing + family history research work on her website

Uncovering the past for over 30 years

Latest newsletter of the Forum and details of the forum

County Durham Forum for History & Heritage

A voluntary association of local history societies and groups, heritage organisations and individuals interested in sharing and promoting the history and heritage of County Durham.

Aims of the Forum

  • The Forum exists to promote and facilitate member organisations in celebrating, researching and raising awareness of the history and heritage of County Durham.
  • The Forum provides an avenue for communication and sharing of information between members and the wider community thus creating an opportunity for learning through sharing skills and knowledge.

Arthur Harkness – the Consett Steelworks Brickworks and meeting the love of his life

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’.

By Jason, Aston, Evie, Tyne & Aleksandra

Shared with kind permission of Building Self Belief CIO and Delves Lane Primary School

Building Self Belief CIO amd Delves Lane Primary School Display at CDHi Exhibition held at the HEART Centre in Consett Oct 2021