Nostalgic black-and-white pics show British Steel in it’s heyday as industry boomed in mid-1900s
NOSTALGIC pictures show when Britain was the CENTRE of the world’s steel industry.
Plants in Sheffield, Port Talbot, Doncaster and Rotherham made the country a booming metals powerhouse for decades.
Generations of families worked in the factories, communities were built and Britain prospered.
Black and white snaps capture the prosperity and relentless production of the steel industry in its hey-day as well as the men and women who worked the mills, plants and factories.
But 150 years on from the start of Britain’s steel boom – hope for the future lies in tatters.
British Steel – the product of 14 major companies first merged in the 1960s – has entered into insolvency proceedings, putting the future of thousands of jobs in doubt.
The British steel industry has been fighting for survival for decades with major plants across the country closing.
It was first nationalised by Clement Atlee in 1951, which saw the formation of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain.
Two years Later Winston Churchill’s Tory government reversed the merger and it was not until 1967 that Harold Wilson’s Labour administration renationalised the industry.
But the 1970s would provide new challenges, with a recession wreaking havoc for British Steel.
The company later focused on steel production in five areas: South Wales, South Yorkshire, Scunthorpe, Teesside and Scotland.
However, in a blow for the firm’s workers, employee numbers were slashed by Margaret Thatcher from 142,000 in 1980 to just 52,000 in 1988.
Sadly the early 1990s did not herald a brighter dawn for the industry and as the country battled another recession the Ravenscraig plant was closed and 1,800 jobs were lost and steelmaking in Scotland ended.
The demand for steel dropped and it wasn’t until 1993 that the company started to post profits.
In 1999, British Steel merged with Koninklijke Hoogovens, the biggest steelmaker in Europe, to form Corus.
But eight years later Corus was bought by Indian firm, Tata Steel and sadly, the closure of plants in Redcar, Scunthorpe, Scotland and South Wales would all follow.
Barely a decade after Tata took over it was bought by Greybull Capital for a nominal one pound.
Greybull, which has specialised in trying to turn around struggling businesses, renamed the business British Steel.
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Earlier this year British Steel was forced to go cap-in-hand to the government and ask for a £120million loan to pay missions trading compliance costs.
Greybull was hoping to get a further £30million in funding to keep the company going in the short term.
But sadly, today British Steel collapsed with devastating news for employers at plants across the country.
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