This film is part of Free

Consett Steel

Sparks fly in an industrial film that captures the exciting visual drama of steel production in Consett.

Industry sponsored film 1967 26 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


There’s something primal and dangerous about the making of steel. The molten magic of the process is captured here at Consett Iron Works in the beautiful Derwent Valley. On the eve of re-nationalisation, this public relations exercise for the British Steel Corporation emphasises new ‘oxygen steelmaking’ and an impressive world market for the products, along with tradition and strong community ties in a town steeped in steel-making history.

In 1967 Harold Wilson’s government moved steel production back into state ownership. Consett Iron Company became part of the British Steel Corporation (BSC), which commissioned this documentary from Turners production house, the go-to-guys for industrial filmmaking in the North East from the 1940s. State film sponsorship and rationalisation of the steel business failed to reverse the steady decline of the industry. On 13 September 1980 the legendary iron and steel works at Consett closed, despite making a profit that year, and left a devastating third of the town out of work.