Filming Tuesday 26th March

Me and Andrew Hagan had a great day filming stories yesterday with Michael Curran and Mary Cooper. Both had mint fresh memories.

Now there’s more filming and writing and then the sharing events Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th April @ The Lodge.


I noticed someone was looking for (on the site) the Consett Giant. The following is as true as this bike I am riding.

There were in the olden days of the Derwent Valley three brothers, all giants, great men and tall, named Cor, Ben and Con, who were said to have lived in a cave at Corbridge in Northumberland, and Benfieldside, and Consett respectively, and to have been the possessors, in common, of a large hammer, which each, at a whistle, could throw nine miles. When any of the brothers wanted to use this tool, this was the way it was conveyed, but on one occasion, Con who had become blind, let it slip and made a hollow dene, or hole in the ground near Consett, called Howden, and which remains to this day. Con was supposed to have lived in a cave in Howen’s Gill, and is generally believed to be buried there.

Taken from the Consett Methodist Site


Saturday 10 pm July 1st, 1950.

Ken Barron emailed to say, quite rightly, that we should add this terrible accident at Consett Ironworks to the Consett Time-Line.

Co-incidentally I had been speaking to Len Crawley, who had a relation that died in the accident, and how his family supported the dead man’s family.

It sadly underlines the dangers experienced by many at ‘the Works.’

Gone but never forgotten.

Here is an extract from Hansard July 4th, 1950.

HC Deb 04 July 1950 vol 477 c260 260
§ Mr. James Glanville (by Private Notice)
asked the Minister of Supply whether he has any statement to make in regard to the accident which occurred last weekend at the Consett Iron Company’s works and in which 11 men lost their lives.

§ Mr. J. Freeman

I am sorry to say that an escape of carbon monoxide gas occurred at the No. 2 blast furnace of the Consett Ironworks Company, Durham, at about 10 p.m. on Saturday, 1st July, while the men were changing shifts. The cause of the escape is at present being investigated by one of His Majesty’s Inspectors of Factories. Forty-five men were rendered unconscious. 11 of whom died. Twenty-eight had to be taken to hospital and 21 have since been discharged. The remainder are expected to leave hospital today. I deeply regret the loss of life involved and, on behalf of my right hon. Friend and myself, and indeed the whole House, I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my sympathy with the relatives of the men who were killed.

Consett Iron Works Offices

Someone was looking for a photograph of the ‘Works’offices.
This post card which is dated around 1900-10 underlines how imposing they were. At the Lodge sessions it was said time and time again they should have not been demolished.

Consett Salvation Army Brass Band

Recently speaking to David Jackson of the Consett Salvation Army brass band I was reminded that Consett was the first Salvation Army Brass Band and here is the key passage from the Salvation Army Brass Band history which tells us that:
“The first Corps Salvation Army Brass Band was set up in Consett in 1879. There was even a board of inquiry set up in 1906 to decide this fact.”
It took a ‘board of inquiry’ to gain the honour.
It was worth it.

Here’s a link to that site.
And a link to Consett Salvation Army Site

And here’s a link to an Northern Echo article of 2009 when they released thier first album.

And you can buy their album through this site.

English Brass Bands and Their Music by Dennis Taylor,
includes a chapter on Salvation Army Bands

The USA Western Territory Staff Songsters, The Salvation Army’s newest Staff Songster Brigade, will be touring the United Kingdom Territory.

On Wednesday 5th June 2013, they will be in Consett.
Venue: Empire Theatre, Front Street, Consett, Co Durham DH8 5AB
Start time : 7 pm
Tickets: £6.00

To book tickets and for more information, please contact the following:
Telephone: 01207 218171 or 07503 356 241

Made of Steel – Sharing events

Made of Steel is a creative heritage project, which has captured memories of local people from Consett at the time of the Steelworks. Over the last few months; people have been sharing first hand memories and stories which chronicled their experiences.

This has been through oral history; using film; sound recording; images; art work and other memorabilia; Made of Steel has created a unique digital collection of work, to provide a lasting legacy for future generations; this has culminated in a dedicated film.

We would now love to share what has been created with you at our premiere events. There will be a few opportunities for you to get along, so please join us in a celebration of the historical importance of the Steelworks, the Consett area and the people.

The events will share an interpretation of personal stories from past generations, these will be regaled through performances of poetry and song; the premiere of the ‘Made of Steel’ film and displays.

These will be taking place at The Lodge, Consett & Blackhill Park on:

Monday, 29th April 2013; 13:00 – 15:00
Tuesday, 30th April 2013; 13:00 – 15:00
Tuesday, 30th April 2013; 18:30 – 20:30

Space will be limited, so book your place(s) early to avoid disappointment! A DVD of the film will be on sale for £5 (Cash only).

This has all been with thanks to the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Colour Your Life, Arts on Prescription (NHS County Durham funded). We look forward to seeing you soon and don’t forget to visit for a flavour so far!

Bookings taken via 01207 218 852 or email no later than Friday 12th April 2013. Please provide your name, number and seats required.

If you cannot attend, but you are interested in finding out more about any future events or buying the DVD, please still get in touch.

Yours sincerely
Cheryl Gavin
Programme Manager, Colour Your Life
Project Manager, Made of Steel
01207 218 852

Consett Images

Here are lots of photos of Consett and I feature a couple of times but don’t let that put you off.

Here’s the link:

Keys to the Past
And this another interesting site that gives detail on a wide range of building etc in and around Consett.
Well worth a browse.

And here are some paintings by Mary Jane Kipling and one is of Consett Works.

A film of Consett in 1967 made by Turners of Newcastle but it has not been digitized as yet but it does provide a break-down of what the film contains. I suppose we should watch this space.
Here is the a link to the information on the north east film archive site.

Tommy Harris photographs on the Amber On-Line site.

Britain From Above: Consett Iron Works 1929

Images on the Newcastle University Site including aerial shots taken from Professor Norman McCord’s book.

Consett Iron Works
Painting by John Sell Cotman
Dated 1800-1810.

A History of Britain’s Railways-
Photographs of Consett

Phil Bartle Exhibition at Lamplight Stanley

Red Dust”
Original watercolours and prints by Phil Bartle

Phil Bartle was born in 1960 in Consett, Co. Durham, which at that time was a bustling and busy industrial town with the steelworks being the main focus. There always seemed to be lots of things happening which made it an exciting time for him to grow up, as Consett was a big and important town!

And here’s Phil on You Tube.

Diary of a Closure

An interesting look at the run up to and impact of the closure of the Works.

Written by the Reverend A.J, Eyles of the Northumbrian Industrial Mission, published in March 1981.

See the Industrial Mission History Site and follow the link to Consett

Rail: The Tyne Dock – Consett

A number of people have come to the site to look at the rail network in and around Consett and especially the line to Tyne Dock.
And here is a link which maps out the line.

And here is the opening of a detailed and fascinating article.

In searching the world of industrial complexes there have been larger steelworks than those at Consett and larger port facilities than those at Tyne Dock. Similarly in the world of railways there are longer, more spectacular, more heavily graded lines worked by heavier freight trains than the Tyne Dock – Consett route, with many featuring more impressive railway structures and facilities en-route. Likewise the locomotives and wagons that worked the iron ore trains to Consett were impressive but were not world record breakers. But it would be difficult to find a route as compact, all-encompassing and as breath-taking as the Tyne Dock – Consett line, which contained all of the elements previously mentioned and much more besides.

And here is the link: