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SS Skinningrove


An extremely clean SS Skinningrove moored at Skinningrove jetty. It was the first of the four steamers owned by The Skinningrove Iron Company; she was employed carrying pig iron to the Company’s customers.

Image courtesy of the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum.

The Works!

Skinningrove Iron and Steel Works is a postcard image by George Skilbeck, the view is from Carlin How towards the Talbot’s, the Scottish Agricultural Slag plant is off to the left; you can just see the basic slag heap from the Talbot furnaces.  The railway station is in the right foreground with the locomotive water tower just in view and the stockyards are mid-right of the image. David Mills asked: “Hi I wonder if you could help me I’m looking for some information regarding the demolition of the steel plant at Skinningrove in particular which company demolished the plant? My father worked for a company called F. B. Parvin Ltd; I believe it started to be demolished around the end of 1972 into 1973.” Can anybody assist with information?

Image courtesy of John G. Hannah and thanks to David Mills for the update.

Power Generator

This looks like a motor-generator unit – looks pretty beefy too – please correct us if we’re wrong! Terry Robinson tells us: ”This is the Blackstone Mirlees emergency generator unit, which is situated opposite the surface engineering building.”

Image courtesy of Alan Franks and thanks to Terry Robinson for the update.

Wash Heater Charger – Skinningrove Works

Eric Johnson featured (at work) in front of the Wash Heater Charger, which forms part of the 36 inch Mill at Skinningrove works. Eric drove; 30 years after driving the chargers on the Talbots. Full circle. Paul Dodsworth told us: “I also drove the mill charger for quite a spell taking over from Bill Noble of Liverton Mines. I used to follow on the shift pattern from Jerry Jarvis also from Liverton Mines.”

Image courtesy of Eric Johnson and many thanks to Paul Dodsworth for the update.

Skinningrove Works Apprentice Awards (1976)

Here’s a newspaper cutting showing the top apprentices at Skinningrove in 1976. Martin Smith tells us: ”I am third from right back row.  I believe this photo was taken at the end of 1976, because that was the year I won this award.”
Image courtesy of J W Knaggs and thanks to Martin Smith for the update.

Skinningrove Iron and Steel Works

A panoramic view of the steel works taken from Brotton Miner’s Hospital or somewhere near.  Still in the days of steam locomotives on the railway, so the works would be in full production.


Skinningrove Works

Here’s a happy crew taking a tea-break in the sunshine. It’s Skinningrove works, but which part – and who were they and when!

Eric Trembath tells us:”This looks like the riggers gang. Two of my old work mates top row 2nd right Tony Prior (from Whitby). Bottom row 2nd right Dennis Theaker, sadly now deceased. Many happy years working with them both. I was the last of the ’Grove riggers and retired in 2008, the end of an era! Eric.”

Many thanks to Eric Trembath for that update.

Skinningrove Ironworks

A view over the village to the ironworks, taken from the allotments on the east side of the valley. This card was produced at the same time as the one of Skinningrove from the cliffs, by William Richardson & Sons, Loftus; and was one of the Penny Real Photo Series.

Image courtesy of Beryl Morris.

Casting Time!

A very atmospheric shot of No. 5 blast furnace casting on Skinningrove; you can almost taste the sulphur! The ”gate” in the sand runner is to skim the  slag off the iron and divert it towards the waiting slag ladles, the iron carries on straight ahead. The most dangerous time in the tapping process is when the liquid iron and slag are almost exhausted – because the system is under pressure the pressure seal can blow  through the tap-hole sending slag and iron spraying in all directions, very pretty, but very dangerous!

The device which can be seen facing the camera is actually the “Clay gun”, a device for injecting clay into the taphole at the end of a cast, to stop the flow of iron. It looks like the Frontside lads are tidying up at the end of a cast. The large circular pipe above is the “Bustle main” which fed hot blast from the stoves into the furnace via the tuyeres which were spaced radially round the furnace. Latterly the Clay gun was powered by electricity, and it was the shift electricians duty to be there in case the gun failed to work, as things could get quite hairy if the gun failed to stop the taphole.  The procedure was to start to bring the furnace “off blast” if the gun failed.  In the meantime as a safety precaution the furnace would “Pull wind”.

Image courtesy of the Pem Holliday Collection.


Skinningrove Iron Works Blast Furnaces

A picture postcard showing the blast furnaces and pig beds at Skinningrove Iron Works.  These are the 5 original, stone-built, blast furnaces at Skinningrove Iron Works (no Steel in the title then – we are not even sure it was called Skinningrove Iron Works  – at this time). The furnaces were hand-loaded with large two-wheeled barrows which ran on knife-edge iron wheels (to minimise the rolling resistance), hence the gallery connecting the furnaces to the lift housings. The iron was tapped directly into a sand gully, called a sow, which had many branches, called pigs (hence the term pig-iron), each the same size and pressed into the sand with a specially-shaped former. When sufficiently cool the pigs were loaded onto trucks and taken to the jetty, via an incline, rope-hauled, railway, and then in company steamships to steelworks and iron foundries in Durham and Middlesbrough.  Eventually they were even transported to Europe. All of these stone-built furnaces were eventually demolished and new furnaces built; of which no. 3 and no. 5 survived.

Image courtesy of the Pem Holliday Collection.