This film is part of Free

Sad Day for Bilston

A steelworks and a workforce under the shadow of closure. Bilston faces a cold winter as it loses its traditional heavy industry.

Documentary 1979 24 mins

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The union officials and workers are continuing to fight but the closure of Bilston steelworks appears to be a certainty by February 1979 when John McLeod visited for the current affairs programme Format V. The death knell was sounded two years earlier when the iconic blast furnace 'Elisabeth' was decommissioned. The workers face redundancy and the end of an era is typified by the old characters of the social club swapping tales over a pint.

Iron had been produced in Bilston since the eighteenth century. However, by 1979 the plant's days were numbered. The decommissioning of the blast furnace 'Elisabeth' in October 1977 meant that the production of steel would no longer be economic as iron had to be brought in. The final closure of the plant came later in 1979 with Elisabeth being demolished in October 1980.