WORK to demolish Teesside's iconic steelworks will begin next week, it has been confirmed, as new plans have been unveiled to preserve sections of the site for future generations.

Demolition of the Redcar blast furnace and coke ovens, as well as all other major structures across the site, will begin on Monday, with work expected to be completed by next June.

And as part of the process, it has been confirmed today that a collection of items from the structures, including the blast furnace, will be kept and preserved as part of a plan to recognise and remember the heritage of the site.

The Northern Echo: Teesworks site Redcar

Videos, 3D modelling, and photos will also be collected ahead of the major demolition work.

Over the past few weeks, the Teesworks Heritage Taskforce, which includes Jacob Young, Kate Willard and John Baker – who has spent more than 50 years in the steel industry – and Teesside historian Dr Tosh Warwick have been meeting workers from the plant to identify which items could be practically reclaimed from the site and used in future exhibitions.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority team will work with local authorities, museums and other groups to decide how to best display the preserved items, which will include the last slab of steel cast in Teesside.

The Northern Echo: Teesworks site Redcar

A major project now under way is documenting the various Teesworks structures, with drones capturing extensive imagery so they can be utilised in the development of a 3D model of the site.

The group has also worked with Historic England to record key elements of the site through ultra-high-resolution pictures of Teesworks and its redevelopment.

Local photographers have been recording the progress of the transformation of the site too, alongside film footage in and around the plant – including 360-degree videos – time lapse cameras and drone flights filming from the air.

The Northern Echo: Teesworks site Redcar

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Teesside was built on ironmaking and steelmaking in our region and this a major milestone for our area and our history.

“From Monday, all of the major buildings on the site from the blast furnace to the coke ovens will start to be demolished. The demolition programmes put in place will see the whole of the steelworks site demolished by June next year, with most of the buildings gone before then.

“During the election campaign, I spoke about the need to accelerate the demolition of the site and replace it with the well paid local jobs of the future, and this work will allow us to build to that future, creating the industries of tomorrow with Net Zero Teesside and carbon capture, offshore wind and hydrogen.

“For many this will be a bittersweet moment. It will be a physical reminder of the end of steelmaking on Teesside in 2015, but it is also one that will fill us with great hope, one of future jobs and one of opportunity.

“People will see a transformation of the skyline across Teesside in the months ahead, but it will be replaced with a new skyline of more investment and more jobs for local people.”

The Northern Echo: Teesworks site Redcar

Kate Willard OBE, co-chair of the Heritage Taskforce said: “We’ve been working incredibly hard to do the site and its redevelopment proud, covering as many areas as possible to make sure these records can be used in lots of different ways, to tell the story of the steelworks for generations to come.

“Historic England has recognised that the work being carried out as being best practice for this kind of pivotal industrial site. It’s been great to work with them, and all of the ex-steelworkers who have been drafted in to help us correctly label, describe and document many of the thousands of images we’ve taken.

"But we’ve also been keeping one eye firmly on the future and the brilliant opportunities that will come with Teesworks’ transformation.”

Geoff Taylor Chair of the ‘Save our Steel Heritage Group’ said: “From our perspective 170 years of iron and steelmaking on Teesside is best preserved by saving part of the site, and the blast furnace is iconic.

“This small collection of artifacts is not enough to represent the huge scale of history and what was created here.”