During the 1970s, the train ride home from a day out in Redcar passed between the three blast furnaces and the coke ovens at South Bank. It was a hellish vision, fire, smoke and steam, sparks flying everywhere, the smell of sulphur and benzene with the occasional glimpse of men emerging from the murk. I loved it.
I took these photographs in the late 1980’s during the demolition of the blast furnaces.
Teesside’s steel industry was born in the 1850’s and died in October 2015. Steelworker Mike Guess took it upon himself to record the final few years of iron and steel making on Teesside. ..the mothball, restart and eventual closing of iron and steelmaking on Teesside was something that I was not going to fail to record. It was almost an obligation to future generations..
As well as Mike’s beautiful book there is currently a new exhibition, Steel Stories at the Kirkleatham Museum.
A photograph of Acklam Ironworks entitled A Giant and Pigmies by Harold Hood from his book Middlesbrough Pictorial and Industrial published in 1926.
Harold Hood was a well respected photographer and owner of Hood and Company Publisher and Printers of Middlesbrough. Hood was a member of the Royal Photographic Society and instigator of the RPS’s annual Hood Medal which is still awarded today.
One ton of iron produces one ton of slag
Towards the end of the 19th Century the furnaces of Cleveland were producing 2.5 million tons of pig iron a year.
noun: scoria; plural noun: scoriae
basaltic lava ejected as fragments from a volcano, typically with a frothy texture.
“chunks of black scoria”
slag separated from molten metal during smelting.
Origin -Late Middle English (denoting slag from molten metal): via Latin from Greek skōria ‘refuse’, from skōr‘dung’. The geological term dates from the late 18th century.