The Media Archive for Central England is the public screen archive for the East and West Midlands. An independent charity and company based at the University of Lincoln, MACE acquires, catalogues, preserves and makes widely available moving image materials that inform our understanding of the diverse cultures and histories of communities between the Lincolnshire coast and the Welsh border.
This film is part of Free
Bilston Blast Furnace
The Midlands' last blast furnace makes a car production line look like an hospital operating theatre. 'Elisabeth' of Bilston is the pride of the Black Country.
From the collection of:
In the days of the Industrial Revolution, the Black Country was the largest iron producing area in the world. By 1977 only Elisabeth remained. The Bilston based blast furnace could produce 7,000 tons of molten iron per week. To do this she worked a 24 hour day, 365 days a year. The men who operated her were once offered a free pint of milk at the end of their shifts. They refused it and demanded beer! They now receive tokens for a free a pint at the end of their working day (or night).
Elisabeth was named after the daughter of the chairman of the Stewarts and Lloyds, the owners. Apparently it was unlucky for men to light the furnace! Elisabeth could not survive the cut-backs made by the nationalised British Steel and was closed in 1980.