The North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
Sparks fly in an industrial film that captures the exciting visual drama of steel production in Consett.
From the collection of:
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.