A WEBSITE dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the steelworks in Consett has been launched.

It will be 40 years in September since the last steel was tapped in Derwentside, but the legacy of the industrial past lives on in people’s memories.

The town was once famous for the red dust from the iron oxide, which emanated from the plant, a major employer in the town.

Thousands lost their jobs when the British Steel site was closed and the move had a seismic impact on the local economy, which has taken decades to recover.

The Northern Echo:

Taking a sample from the Kaldo furnace

Now, other than public artwork, no signs of the steelworks remain, with the site ripe for redevelopment.

The History of Consett Steelworks Group has created a lasting resource to ensure stories and images of the era are not forgotten by future generations.

Richard Judd, who lives in Leadgate, has been one of the driving forces behind the project.

He said: “The steelworks is a great example of local industrial heritage that needs the memories and stories recorded of those who worked at and lived by nearby before it is too late.

“It is also to provide a legacy for the current generation and future generations to understand and learn what happened there.

“The site’s memory and impact on the community during and after operation is a ‘must’ to be recorded for all time.”

The Northern Echo:

A shunting engine at Consett Iron Company

A reunion for former steelworkers is being organised on September 12 to commemorate the plants last day of working.

Organisers have said it will have to be online due to restrictions about large social gatherings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As well as the website the group has launched a social media presence with Facebook and Twitter pages.

Group member Victoria Stevens is appealing for people with content for the website to get in touch.

She said: “As a community resource, what we would really like would be for any readers who worked at the steelworks or their families to make contact to explore more about their memories and pictures of their time at the works.

“We would like to develop profiles of as many people who contributed to making Consett steel great and capture the last generation of workers at the site as comprehensively as possible.

“Our focus in the short term is on the last day and we are particularly interested in hearing more about people’s experiences of the run up to closure, the day itself and the legacy both short and long term of the closure.

“We will be delighted to hear their stories and share their memories.”

The email address is: historyofconsettsteelworks@gmail.com