Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 140,069 pages of information and 227,378 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Dorman, Long (Steel)

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1956 The AGM of Dorman, Long and Co was told about performance of the main subsidiary companies[1] including Dorman Long (Steel) Ltd, which included the Lackenby and Cleveland steel works and blooming mills, and coke ovens at South Bank.

Clay Lane Blast Furnace - Memoirs by Patrick Capper.

"I had a good three years at Dorman Long of which just over two were with the three Blast Furnaces at Clay lane. Between the three furnaces I saw practically every problem you can have on a Blast Furnace. Once I was looking into a spy glass at a tuyere and not long afterwards iron came back at and burnt through the water feed pipe causing a steam explosion.

Les Chilvers had little formal education but was very intelligent and knowledgeable about the quirts of Blast Furnace operation. On one shift the shift manager was an ex fighter pilot who was very cool and calm in a crisis and on the same shift one furnace foreman was known as "Flapper" who would be rather paralyzed with fear and be rather slow in taking corrective action. It was always a debate as to whether the poor coke or poor sinter quality were the cause of the most problems, coke coming out of the taphole was always blamed on poor coke quality. Ed Stevenson worked at Clay Lane at the same time as me but started work a year earlier than me and rose to senior management levels and stayed in the Teesside area and if still alive would I am sure have memories of those days in 1965-1967.

I was part of a Graduate trainee program being hired in Sept 1964 and spending a year visiting the various departments ( hence the steel- rolling photos) before opting to work in the iron making department. This included time at the sinter plant which instead of having a circular cooler had a cooling bench. The problem was often hot sinter was dumped on cooler sinter and so often some hot sinter went onto the conveyor belt and if not sprayed quickly with water could cause the belt to catch fire! Steelmaking in those days was by open hearth ( prior to Oxygen Steelmaking) and steel was poured into ingots (prior to continuous casting).

I left in December 1967 to join Iron Ore company of Canada in Labrador Canada and later in 1979 returned to Ironmaking with Algoma Steel in Sault Ste Marie and retired in 2005.[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 4 January 1956
  2. Memoirs by Patrick Capper who also kindly sent Grace's Guide copies of the Clay Lane photographs on this page.