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Last Slab Among Artefacts Preserved from Former Steelworks as Part of Heritage Push

Posted on 10 August 2023

Last Slab Among Artefacts Preserved from Former Steelworks as Part of Heritage Push

The last slab of steel produced at the former Redcar Steelworks will be among a raft of assets to be saved for future generations.

It comes as part of the wider efforts by the Teesworks Heritage Task Force to capture, record and recognise the huge cultural, economic and industrial impact of the site on Teesside’s steelmaking heritage.

A huge ladle kept back for emergencies at the former BOS Plant will be included in the artefacts preserved, as well as the BOS Plant straightener, a Bull Wheel and a train cart used on the site.

Dozens of signs from the former steelworks will also be kept.  

Kirkleatham Museum is set to take on the artefacts in two containers before plans are firmed up on where the assets will be displayed, and how the public can access them.

Peter Noteyoung was the Plant Engineer at the former SSI site – overseeing all engineering maintenance at the plant. 

He grew up in Grangetown and is the fifth generation of his family to work in steelmaking – with his son, John, being the sixth.

He was joined at the ladle by Electrical Engineer Brian Dixon, Mechanical Engineer Dave Hughes and Electrician Brian Martin – with the quartet chalking up more than 150 years on the site between them. 

Peter said: “Our grandkids would probably never know what their dad or grandad did – and it’ll take years to sift through it all until we’ll able to show them, ‘This is what we used to do’.”

He added: “But when we look at the heritage which will be kept, it will remind us of a funny story – and you will remember what we did.

“It’s good to keep.”

The Teesworks Heritage Task Force was established by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen in 2020 and is co-chaired by Redcar MP Jacob Young and Kate Willard OBE.

It is made up of local politicians and industrial heritage experts, including Tees steel industry veteran John Baker, eminent Teesside steel historian Tosh Warwick, and a representative of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

Jacob Young MP said: "I am immensely proud of the work of the Teesworks Heritage Task Force in endeavouring to preserve our region's rich cultural and industrial legacy.

"The last slab of steel from the former Redcar Steelworks, along with many other cherished artefacts, represents an important link to our past and a testament to the hardworking spirit of Teesside.

"By preserving and showcasing these pieces of history, we're ensuring that future generations can be inspired by the stories they tell and a sense of the significance of our steelmaking heritage."

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough-based technology firm Animmersion is creating an interactive 3D-rendered model of the Redcar Blast Furnace.

Historic England has documented the former steelworks site with thousands of photos.

And a project alongside the Teesside Archives has also gathered stories and memories from ex-workers at the site to enhance their collections as part of the wider heritage effort.

Dr Warwick, a University of Sheffield researcher and heritage consultant, has been central in driving the independent taskforce.

He said: “The loss of major industrial landmarks is almost invariably divisive. My collaborating with heritage and culture partners such as Teesside Archives, learning from best practice approaches to industrial heritage elsewhere and deploying digital developments means we are able to help ensure the history and heritage of Teesside's iron and steel industries is made accessible to future generations.

"By retaining a number of assets from the Teesside Steelworks site, these provide very tangible, physical reminders of the works and the day-to-day lives of generations of Teessiders. It is now important that the potential of these remnants of the steelworks is maximised alongside new oral histories and historic records recovered from today's Teesworks site.”