From an ‘Infant Hercules’ to the death of Teesside Steelmaking: History and heritage along the ‘Steel River’

  • Thomas Warwick

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

The closure of Teesside steelworks on the north-east coast of England in late 2015 has been heralded as ‘The End’ for steel in the district, bringing the loss of over 2,000 jobs in the industry and with it major knock-on effects ranging from the folding of supply chain firms dependent on the local industry, to cafes, pubs and shops struggling as belts were tightened. In fact, the closure is a continuation of decades of decline which has seen the industry’s labour force in the UK shrink from 320,000 in 1971 to just 24,000 by 2014.  Such severe cuts have long since undermined economic confidence in the ability of places like Teesside, and other districts in South Yorkshire and South Wales, to sustain themselves on heavy manufacturing alone.  The full severity of the economic impact of the closure of the vast complex skirting the River Tees towards the North Sea is yet to be fully realized and yet, the impact of the imploding global market for steel is about so much more than jobs. In fact, the demise of works has been readily recognized as marking an end to a historical lineage dating back to the birth of Middlesbrough, the rise of the ‘Ironopolis’ and steel production which gained worldwide repute through its use in landmarks such as Sydney Harbour Bridge, nearby Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge and Churchill’s War Rooms.

Period9 Jan 2017

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleFrom an ‘Infant Hercules’ to the death of Teesside Steelmaking: History and heritage along the ‘Steel River’
    Media name/outletsocialhistoryblog.com
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date9/01/17
    DescriptionThe closure of Teesside steelworks on the north-east coast of England in late 2015 has been heralded as ‘The End’ for steel in the district, bringing the loss of over 2,000 jobs in the industry and with it major knock-on effects ranging from the folding of supply chain firms dependent on the local industry, to cafes, pubs and shops struggling as belts were tightened. In fact, the closure is a continuation of decades of decline which has seen the industry’s labour force in the UK shrink from 320,000 in 1971 to just 24,000 by 2014. Such severe cuts have long since undermined economic confidence in the ability of places like Teesside, and other districts in South Yorkshire and South Wales, to sustain themselves on heavy manufacturing alone. The full severity of the economic impact of the closure of the vast complex skirting the River Tees towards the North Sea is yet to be fully realized and yet, the impact of the imploding global market for steel is about so much more than jobs. In fact, the demise of works has been readily recognized as marking an end to a historical lineage dating back to the birth of Middlesbrough, the rise of the ‘Ironopolis’ and steel production which gained worldwide repute through its use in landmarks such as Sydney Harbour Bridge, nearby Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge and Churchill’s War Rooms.
    URLsocialhistoryblog.com/from-an-infant-hercules-to-the-death-of-teesside-steelmaking-history-and-heritage-along-the-steel-river-by-tosh-warwick/
    PersonsThomas Warwick