Elisabeth Furnace, Bilston Steelworks, 1970 by unknown

Elisabeth Furnace, Bilston Steelworks, 1970

unknown

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Product details Elisabeth Furnace, Bilston Steelworks, 1970

Elisabeth Furnace, Bilston Steelworks, 1970

unknown

Bilston Steel Works was situated at Spring Vale, Bilston. The opening of the Birmingham to Wolverhampton Canal in 1770 saw an increase in industrial activity in the area, and by 1780 the first blast furnaces were in use. In 1866 the Hickman family acquired the works then known as the Springvale Furnaces Ltd. In 1897 the Springvale Furnaces and the Staffordshire Steel & Ingot Iron Co. amalgamated to become Alfred Hickman Ltd. In 1920, the works were sold to Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd. In 1954 a new blast furnace called 'Elisabeth' was lit, replacing three smaller blast furnaces. Elisabeth alone produced 275,000 tons of steel a year. The furnace was named 'Elisabeth' after the daughter of the chairman of Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd. In 1967 the British steel industry was nationalised. The Iron and Steel Act brought into public ownership about 90% of British steelmaking to form the British Steel Corporation (BSC). Stewarts and Lloyds became part of BSC in July 1968. By the late 1970s the works had become uncompetitive and expensive to run. On 12th April 1979 the last steel billet was cast at Bilston ending more than 200 years of iron and steel production at the site. Eighteen months later, on 5th October 1980, Elisabeth was demolished.

  • Image ref: BC_GB149_P_3280
  • Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage

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