More Stories

More and more stories on ‘The Company’ or ‘The Work’s’ as The Steel Works was known are emerging.

Cheryl was talking about the MADE OF STEEL project and people started telling their stories and sometimes that’s the way it is, ad hoc, in the street, in the pub or at one of our public events. The more the merrier I say. Every story has a value.
Here is a little of this Consett workers tale:
He worked at the Plate Mill/Test House (still exists down Villa Real),

– The Company got took over by British Steel, but was still known as “The Company”

You had to have a Tests (entrance exam) at school to get onto a Steelworks apprenticeship (5 years low paid, had to finish it in Redcar when it closed)
– He passed but wanted to be a junior operative as you got paid then

It started when Shotley Bridge made swords and then branched out and made more steel products


More Stories — 6 Comments

  1. Served my time in the works, as a bricklayer in the masons department. I am still using the skills i was taught then to this day, travelling around the world working on Blast Furnaces and steel works as a refractory inspector. Thanks to the skills of the older bricklayers who taught me my trade in refractories, i like to think i am now passing them on to others around the globe.

    • Thanks for that Frank. It’s makes me feel as if The Works’ is still alive.

      If you want to share any more stories please get in touch and if you can make it to one of our open days on
      Jan 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th at 1-3 at The Lodge in Consett & Blackhill Park that would be great.

      But please do keep in touch, all the best,


      • Hi Tom
        I dont know if you do displays or anything like that i have my indentures of apprenticship from the company, 1975 if you would like to borrow them. I am currently working in South Wales, Port Talbot untill the end of January, so not to far away and will try to make it to one of those dates.


  2. Frank, your indentures: that would be great!

    If you can’t make one of the dates, get in touch when you are home and we can arrange to meet up.

    Once again thanks for getting in touch.

    All the best,


  3. We had strike at the works, i think it was around 1978/79. We were out for thirteen weeks. During that time we were fortunate if we got one shift a week ( safety cover ) sometimes none at all. they were hard times but the community rallied round as always and helped feed some of the more unfortuate familys. At the end of the strike, i received my strike pay off the union the grand sum of £42.00 for thirteen weeks.

    • Frank,

      Strike: thirteen weeks! Sometimes it’s easy to forget how important the community are in those hard times. I was talking to man recently about the ’84 miners strike and he told me people on his estate would push food through his door.
      Thanks, again, for sharing your stories: keep them coming.

      All the best, Tom