Save the last of Teesside’s Blast Furnaces

Redcar’s custodians historically have gotten carried away with bulldozing its past, only for future generations to say “What were they thinking?!” I have written many posts in the past displaying historic Redcar buildings that no longer stand, as have many others. We look back fondly and with disbelief that these buildings were not preserved. I can reel many of them off and I’m sure many others can too.

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

The clip below from Gardeners World (see Links) is an important one which you should watch. It is of one of Germany’s past steel mills in Duisburg. It’s the steel works, I often post all lit up with colourful lights and can be seen for miles around. The Germans demonstrate here that keeping hold of its facilities, allowing the iconic structures to remain is good for their soul and history and by becoming a vast park is also good for health & well-being and for nature and the ecology of the planet. Economically it saved the multi million pound clean up and instead brought value with millions of visitors every year. Other blast furnaces in Germany and around the world have been repurposed to incorporate other things, but you get the idea.

Zollverein mining colliery is now lit up and repurposed as a visitor centre celebrating their proud heritage. Stairwells and structures are lit up fiery red.

Blast furnaces are built to withstand extreme temperatures and conditions. Once their function is no longer required the facility will remain unless it is physically pulled down. Around the world and in the UK, towns and cities show off their heritage and examples of their past industrial facilities by being preserved, celebrated and repurposed for posterity, pride, culture and displayed as art.

After life, Industrial areas around the world have been preserved, repurposed and celebrated.
Rhonda Valley preserving their past mining colliery. Preserving their heritage for their residents and all who pass here.

Redcar’s redundant blast furnace is the last in Teesside which once had 91 producing steel and iron. To all those who passed through here, who wrote books and made films, to the prosperity iron and steel brought to the unpopulated area’s of Redcar and Middlesbrough in the 19th century, the materials and structures famously produced and shipped out around the world, to the hardship and hard graft of all those who worked in these vital UK industries, many all of their lives, many your ancestors, and to the legacy of the industrious North that inspired many industries and manufacturers to settle here, there is no better tribute, to that proud history, than to preserve the blast furnace.

Steel production on Teesside began when Bolckow, & Vaughan, opened the Cleveland Steelworks in Middlesbrough in 1833. At its height there were 91 blast furnaces operating in Teesside. Now redundant, the last one remaining is in Redcar.

There is no better advert and image to future industries of where to settle too. Iconic art, which is what this can be presented as, enhances an area. It provides an awesome backdrop to new industry and would encourage that investment. Redcar’s blast furnace is for all intent and purposes the perceived image of that complete history. It should be saved, along with Dorman Long Tower and the South Bank Coke Ovens and held up as one of the most important references of the Industrial Age in this country.


Cover img: Northern Echo 2012 when the steel works were relit and given fresh hope from SSI.

Gardeners World report from Duisburg-Nord

One comment

  1. Great stuff Carl, keep up the good work. So many people saying the furnace is crumbling, any excuse to pull it down. It is everyone’s heritage not just theirs, utterly shameful to dumb down our historic contribution to industry!!

    Liked by 1 person

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