Barrow Hematite Steel Company

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The steelworks as they appeared in 1920 Barrow Steelworks1920.jpg
The steelworks as they appeared in 1920
A railway in Mariefred (Sweden) constructed with 'Barrow Steel' dated 1896 Rail Barrow Steel 1896.jpg
A railway in Mariefred (Sweden) constructed with 'Barrow Steel' dated 1896

The Barrow Hematite Steel Company Limited was a major iron and steel producer based in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire (now Cumbria), England, between 1859 and 1963. At the turn of the 20th-century and the Technological Revolution it operated the largest steel mill in the world. [1]

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History

Iron prospector Henry Schneider arrived in Furness in 1839 and, with other investors, opened the Furness Railway in 1846 to transport iron ore and slate from local mines to the coast. In 1850 extensive hematite deposits were discovered of sufficient size to develop factories for smelting and exporting steel. [2] Schneider Hannay & Co. was founded in 1859 and was renamed the Barrow Hematite Steel Company in 1865. Officially registered on 1 April 1864, Sir James Ramsden acted as Managing Director and Josiah T. Smith became General Manager of the Barrow Hematite Steel Company. The Hindpool iron and steelworks were expanded to include ten blast furnaces and 18, 5-ton Bessemer converters by 1866, which were physically separated by the Furness Railway. [2]

The steelworks continued to operate during World War II where, alongside the booming shipyard, were a prime enemy target during the Blitz. In the post war period, Barrow developed the 'continuous casting' methods of steelmaking. The company continued to operate under the Barrow Hematite Steel name until 1947, when it was again renamed Barrow Ironworks Limited. During the mid 1960s, the works were absorbed by British Steel Corporation. Barrow Ironworks Limited, the associated factory buildings and mines ceased operation in 1963, when all hematite deposits in the area were exhausted, ultimately sealing the fate of the town's century long iron and steel making industry. Barrow Steelworks Ltd continued operations until final closure in the 1980s [2]

Although the Barrow Hematite Steel Company exported its products to all corners of the world including for major railway projects, steel was utilised in Barrow itself in the form of shipbuilding. Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering (now BAE Systems) was and still remains one of the UK's largest shipbuilding centres, and the only one to build Royal Navy submarines.

Legacy

A section of the large slag heap in Ormsgill pictured in 2007 The Slag Bank - geograph.org.uk - 485043.jpg
A section of the large slag heap in Ormsgill pictured in 2007

Steel produced at the works was used throughout the 20th century by VSEL to construct hundreds of vessels, many of which supported the British war efforts in World War I and II. Steel rails were however the works' signature product and were laid for railways in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Rhodesia, South Africa, South America, and the United States. [3]

Only the main entrance arch remains, this was re-constructed in a different part of the works in 1987, and is currently occupied by Stagecoach Buses. The rest of the site is now being occupied by a number of industrial parks and the campus of Furness College. Despite this, Barrow's infamous 'Slag bank' is a lasting reminder of the town's industrial past. The slag bank contains over a century's worth of waste from the iron and steelworks which was dumped in north Hindpool, adjacent to Walney Channel. Since the 1990s, an ongoing scheme has been reclaiming the derelict and contaminated land by laying soil on top of the heap.

There are three sculptures in Barrow commemorating the iron and steelworks, the largest of which resembles a large book describing the history of the works on Duke Street. [3] Two sculptures of steelworkers can be found at the centre of Dalton Road and 'Red Man's Way' - a coastal path alongside the Walney Channel.

See also

Related Research Articles

Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999.

Barrow-in-Furness Town in Cumbria, North-West England

Barrow-in-Furness is a town in Cumbria, North-West England. Historically part of Lancashire, it was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1867 and merged with Dalton-in-Furness Urban District in 1974 to form the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness. At the tip of the Furness peninsula, close to the Lake District, it is bordered by Morecambe Bay, the Duddon Estuary and the Irish Sea. In 2011, Barrow's population was 57,000, making it the second largest urban area in Cumbria after Carlisle. Natives of Barrow, as well as the local dialect, are known as Barrovian.

Furness Railway

The Furness Railway (Furness) was a railway company operating in the Furness area of Lancashire in North West England.

Furness

Furness is a peninsula and region of Cumbria in northwestern England. Together with the Cartmel Peninsula it forms North Lonsdale, historically an exclave of Lancashire.

Steel mill Plant for steelmaking

A steel mill or steelworks is an industrial plant for the manufacture of steel. It may be an integrated steel works carrying out all steps of steelmaking from smelting iron ore to rolled product, but may also be a plant where steel semi-finished casting products are made from molten pig iron or from scrap.

Walney Island Island in the United Kingdom

Walney Island, also known as the Isle of Walney, is an island off the west coast of England, at the western end of Morecambe Bay in the Irish Sea. It is part of Barrow-in-Furness, separated from the mainland by Walney Channel, which is spanned by the Jubilee Bridge. Walney is the largest island of the Furness Islands group, both in population and size, as well as the largest English island in the Irish Sea. Its population at the 2011 UK Census was 10,651, distributed evenly across the island's two Wards of Walney North and Walney South.

Ironworks

An ironworks or iron works is an industrial plant where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e. the singular of ironworks is ironworks.

Barrow Island, Barrow-in-Furness Area and electoral ward of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England

Barrow Island is an area and electoral ward of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England. Originally separate from the British mainland, land reclamation in the 1860s saw the northern fringes of the island connect to Central Barrow. Barrow Island is also bound to the south and east by the town's dock system and to the west by Walney Channel. The Ward population taken at the 2011 census was 2,616.

Vickerstown Human settlement in England

Vickerstown is an area of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, covered by the wards of Walney North and Walney South. It is an example of a planned estate built for workers by a company needing to expand, having been constructed in the early 20th century by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering. Vickerstown contains two Conservation Areas and is home to the majority of the population of Walney Island.

Lindal-in-Furness Human settlement in England

Lindal-in-Furness is a village on the Furness peninsula of Cumbria, England. Historically in Lancashire, it lies eight miles to the north-east of Barrow-in-Furness, on the A590 trunk road. The civil parish is Lindal and Marton which had a population of 755 at the 2011 Census.

Dock Museum

The Dock Museum is situated in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England. Most of its exhibits concern the history of the town, focusing on the shipbuilding industry at VSEL, the steelworks industry — of which Barrow once had the world's largest, the Furness Railway and the World War II bombings of the town. There has been a museum in Barrow since 1907 and in its current location since 1994, when 50,000 people visited it in its first year, visitor numbers peaked at 120,000 in 2001. The museum has free entry and remains under public ownership.

Barrow Blitz

The Barrow Blitz is the name given to the Luftwaffe bombings of Barrow-in-Furness, United Kingdom during World War II. They took place primarily during April and May 1941, although the earliest Luftwaffe bombing occurred in September 1940. VSEL shipyard was the main target for bombing alongside Barrow's steelworks which were formerly the largest in the world.

Hindpool Human settlement in England

Hindpool is an area and electoral ward of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England. It is bordered by Barrow Island, Central Barrow, Ormsgill, Parkside and the Walney Channel, the local population stood at 5,851 in 2011. The ward covers the entire western half of the town centre and includes Barrow's main shopping district. Other local landmarks include the Furness College Channelside campus, the Dock Museum and the Main Public Library. Hindpool is also home to two stadia - Barrow Raiders' Craven Park and Barrow A.F.C.'s Holker Street.

Henry William Schneider was a British industrialist, and politician, who played a leading role in the development of the new town of Barrow-in-Furness.

The firm of Harrison Ainslie & Co. was a British firm of ironmasters and iron ore merchants, selling high quality haematite from their mines on Lindal Moor to smelters in Glasgow, Scotland, South Wales and the Midlands. From a 21st-century perspective, they are more interesting as the last operators of charcoal-fired blast furnaces in Great Britain. Their furnaces were stone-built, water-powered, and much smaller than the coke-fired furnaces of the same era.

Port of Barrow

The Port of Barrow refers to the enclosed dock system within the town of Barrow-in-Furness, England. Morecambe Bay is to the east of the port and the Irish Sea surrounds it to the south and west. The port is currently owned and operated by Associated British Ports Holdings, but some land is shared with BAE Systems Submarine Solutions. Currently consisting of four large docks, the Port of Barrow is one of North West England's most important ports. The docks are as follows: Buccleuch Dock, Cavendish Dock, Devonshire Dock and Ramsden Dock. The port of Barrow is the only deep water port between the Mersey and the Clyde.

Hindpool Retail Parks

The Hindpool Retail Parks are a set of four conjoined retail parks in the Hindpool area of Barrow-in-Furness, England, United Kingdom. Some thirty stores and leisure facilities contain a total of 43,000 m2 (460,000 sq ft) of retail space. The four retail parks are Cornerhouse Retail Park, Cornmill Crossing, Hindpool Retail Park and Hollywood Park. The largest and only other retail park in Barrow is Walney Road Retail Park - Pound Stretcher, Argos Extra, Asda, Home Bargains, Matalan and Stollers.

Ebbw Vale Steelworks

Ebbw Vale Steelworks was an integrated steel mill located in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. Developed from 1790, by the late 1930s it had become the largest steel mill in Europe. Nationalized after World War II, as the steel industry changed to bulk handling, iron and steel making was ceased in the 1970s, as the site was redeveloped as a specialised tinplate works. Closed by Corus in 2002, the site is being redeveloped in a joint-partnership between Blaenau Gwent Council and the Welsh Government.

Barrow Jute Works

The Barrow Jute Works was a jute and flax mill located in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The mill was built for the Barrow and Calcutta Jute Company which was founded by James Ramsden in 1870 in an attempt to diversify Barrow's economy which was heavily focused on iron and steel production. The Jute Works itself was designed by architects Paley and Austin and occupied over 12-acres with a 580 feet (177 m) facade on Hindpool Road and 360 feet (110 m) along Abbey Road. The mill was served by its own railway station on a branch of the Furness Railway which connected it to the town's docks, steelworks and cornmill.

The following is a timeline of the history of Barrow-in-Furness, England, United Kingdom.

References

  1. "Barrow-in-Furness". Visit Cumbria. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 "Barrow Hematite Steel Co". Grace's guide. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  3. 1 2 "Duke Street Iron and Steelworks Sculpture". Flickr . Retrieved 16 March 2013.