My Time at Consett

I started at Consett works on the 3rd of September 1979, as an
apprentice plater (I have photos of the intake). Although there was
always rumours of the works closing, we were all very up-beat and
grateful that we had managed to get a job in a very difficult jobs
market.

The early days were also complicated by the national steel
strike which took place early in 1980. We, as apprentices, did not have to go out on strike, but we had to walk through the lines of pickets every morning stood at the entrance gates.

Soon after the end of the strike it was announced the Consett works would close and we went through a period of great uncertainty, wondering if we had a job and what the future held for us. Eventually we found out that our intake would be kept on, and transferred to a rolling mill at Jarrow to complete the remaining time of our apprenticeship.

We stayed at Consett for a while after production had ceased, and got to travel around the works and see the place in its sad shut down state. Living and going out in Consett brought mixed emotions as many of our friends who had work at Consett in production jobs , now were buying new cars, holidays and had pockets full of cash with their redundancy while we were still apprentices earning about £25 a week!

We then transferred to Jarrow to complete our apprenticeship (have photos of last day at Consett) and from then I transferred to Teesside, where I am today, still making Steel.

This is a very brief insight, feel free to ring me and I can give more detail.

Gerard Smith sent via email.

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