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After Casting the Furnace

After Casting the Furnace

This image shows Both men strapping on clogs, – shaped wooden soles to protect his boots from the heat – before going on to the sand bed to break up the still hot Pig Iron, and stack it ready for the crane to remove it.
Glass Plate Negative courtesy Dave Mcgill.

Ready to Cast

Ready to Cast

On the Sand Bed, with the gate irons in place ready to divert the flow of metal to fill the pig Moulds. The Furnace is preparing to cast. As one Sow Channel is filled the Gate is placed to divert the flow of molten Iron to the next Sow channel.
Glass Plate Negative courtesy Dave Mcgill.

Preparing Sand Bed for Casting

 Preparing Sand Bed for Casting

These two men are preparing the sand runners (sows) and moulds (pigs) to receive the molten Iron from the blast furnace. The Man on the left is Raking the Sand Smooth, on the right using a tool the Worker is making the mould for the Pig.
Glass Plate Negative courtesy Dave Mcgill.

Running Slag off at No. 5

Running Slag off at No. 5

Believed to be the old No 5 Furnace, at Skinningrove, with one ladle full the second one is being filled. Using cleveland Ironstone
up to One and a Half tons of slag were produced for every Ton of Iron.
From a Glass Plate Negative courtesy Dave Mcgill.

Warrenby Boiler Explosion

Apparently Warrenby Steel works (sadly no longer in existence) which was pre-Dorman Long, British Steel, Tata and SSI (for our older viewers) suffered a major boiler explosion in 1895; the photograph (which came as part of a double image) postcard of the event still bears the handwritten inscription we have retained. It must have been a big one! Judging by the damaged remains shown. We have since been told that much information is held on the Communigate website, which includes the headline: ”North Eastern Daily Gazette: Saturday 15th June 1895.  AWFUL EXPLOSION NEAR REDCAR . THIRTEEN BOILERS BLOWN TO PIECES. FRIGHTFUL WRECKAGE. TEN MEN KILLED AND MANY INJURED. MIRACULOUS ESCAPES. LARGE IRONWORKS DESTROYED . 200 MEN THROWN IDLE.” There is an expansive section on this disaster contained on the Communigate site

Jackie Wray inquired: “Hi can anyone let me know how to find out more about this. I think my great great grandfather died in this explosion and would love to find out more.”

John Knaggs has advised in response to Jackie Wray’s inquiry: ”I have just been researching this as William Rowbottom left the following entry in his ‘Diary of a Cleveland Miner’ he kept between 1873 and 1925 and I am currently indexing the transcript and adding other information from various sources.
I have a list of 9 young men who were sadly fatally injured, but other sources mention 10 or 11 and the same seriously injured. More could be gleaned from newspapers of the time possibly held in Redcar Reference Library or The National Newspaper Archive online.
This is the information I have to date on your Great Grand father: WRAY Robert born 1864 Coatham, Yorkshire; General Labourer, 6 Decoy Street, Warrenby,Yorkshire 1891; Pigeon Street 1895, wife Mary Ann (WILSON) born 1863 Driffield, YorKshire; Robert died aged 32; leaving 4 children, “encouraged by his wife to work another man’s shift as a Slagger to help the family finances”.”

Image courtesy of Geoff Patton and thanks to Peter Turvey and John Knaggs for the updates.

 

Slagging the Furnace

Slagging the Furnace

Skinningrove Ironworks, used two types of Slag Bogies. This photo shows an end tipping Ladle. In later years they used side tipping Ladles. The chain used for emptying the Ladle is prominent, it runs under the Ladle, and when taken to the tip was attached to the engine, the slag ladle bogie scotched, the engine pulled away tipping the Ladle. This photo also gives a good view of the “tunnel” running along the Furnaces. The Short headroom above the rail tracks, shows why Skinningrove had Locomotives with cut down cabs and chimneys.
Image courtesy of Dave Mcgill.

Almost an Aerial View

Almost an Aerial View

Photo taken from the top of the new no 5 Furnace, during construction around 1950.The twin conveyor belts from the Coke tippler and Ore Crusher over the Bunkers are still uncovered. on the right Smoke is seen issuing from the “monkey” Valves on top of the Gas offtakes of No 3 nearest the camera, and No 1 Blast Furnaces. The twin Rows of Furnace Cottages, and St Helens Church, are seen in the centre of the Photo.
From a Glass Plate Negative courtesy of Dave Mcgill.

Preparing to tap the Furnace.

Preparing to tap the Furnace.

Skinningrove Ironworks.At the date of this photo, the tap hole was opened by hammer and crowbar a
tough and dangerous task. Although “wind” or (blast) was reduced in pressure, the molten Iron could burst out of the taphole with some force. the clothing of the furnacemen did not give any protection. Safety didn’t figure in the good old days. Above the men the large diameter pipe (Bustle Main) carried the hot blast, a small pipe (Gooseneck) leads down to the “tuyere” by which
the hot “blast” entered the Furnace.
From a Glass Plate negative Courtesy Dave Mcgill.

Closure on the “Tele”!

Closure on the

George House, Tyne Tees Televison Reporter interviewing A North Skelton Miner. On 17th January 1964 At the end of his last shift. Peter Armstrong tells us: ”I think this miner being interviewed is my grandfather William Henry Armstrong (“Boy” Armstrong). ”
Photo courtesy Jeff Templeman and many thanks to Peter for that update.

Last Pay

Last Pay

Last pay day at North Skelton Mine 17th January 1964.
Being paid is George Swan, Walking stick hooked in his pocket,
he lost a leg down the mine, he was given the job of handing out the Explosives to the Shotfirers from the underground magazine.
behind George is believed to be John Whiteley.
Photo courtesy Jeff Templeman.