27 Mar 2018

Teesside’s steel mill celebrates 60th anniversary by looking to the future

British Steel’s Teesside Beam Mill, the region’s last remaining steel manufacturer, is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The mill, which manufactures large sections for the construction industry, has helped transform the world’s skyline by providing steel for scores of iconic buildings - from The Shard in London to the new World Trade Centre in New York.

And its 400 employees at Lackenby are proud to be maintaining Teesside’s global reputation for manufacturing excellence by continuing to supply steel across the globe.

Teesside Beam Mill (TBM) Plant Manager Andy Williams said: “While our eyes are firmly focussed on the future, our history is a source of great pride among our employees – past and present.

“The skill and dedication shown by generations of Teesside steelworkers helped put this area on the map. Businesses across the world knew that if they were getting steel made in this area, they were getting the best steel money could buy.

“There was once a time when if you didn’t work in the steel industry you knew someone who did so, over the years, it’s been heart-breaking to see the number of mill closures and job losses throughout the Teesside steel industry.

“It makes our 60th anniversary even more poignant, and makes us doubly determined to build a bright future for our employees and a new chapter in Teesside’s steelmaking history.”

The opening of our mill marked the completion of a £60-million development programme of Dorman Long. Digging for the foundations started in 1954, closely followed by the erection of steelwork.

The first plant for installation was delivered in July 1955 and on 9 January 1958 the Roughing, Edging & Finishing Stands were commissioned. A few weeks later the first beam was rolled in the new Combined Universal Beam and Heavy Section Mill.

Following commissioning, regular execution of orders commenced and by the end of the year the team delivered a shift record of 752 tonnes. Today a shift can produce double that amount.

The first rolling of large beams were quite literally used down the road, in the Catterick By-Pass A1 upgrade scheme. And, from that day on, TBM has continued to supply high quality sections to major projects – from those a little closer to home such as Heathrow’s Terminal 5, to those further afield such as the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Andy said: “Our business today is very different to what it was in 1958, largely down to automation and technological advances. Our manufacturing output is considerably higher, as is the quality and breadth of our product range.

“It’s also a much safer environment and it’s notable the 60th anniversary comes a short time after 2 major achievements by our employees – 7 years without a lost time injury and a second successive RoSPA Gold Award.”

A series of events are being planned to mark the diamond anniversary and Richard Farnsworth, Managing Director Construction, said: “Everyone at TBM should be hugely proud that they’re not only playing an important part in the transformation of British Steel, but maintaining Teesside’s steelmaking traditions.

“Some people mistakenly think steel is resigned to Teesside’s past but they couldn’t be more wrong. Our mill continues to roll large quantities of world class steel and our neighbouring Teesside Service Centre is a flurry of activity, providing a diverse range of British Steel sections to growing numbers of contractors, fabricators and stockholders.

“We continue to recruit – we took on 10 apprentices last year (2017) and hope a similar number will join us this year. And we continue to invest in our people, plant and products to ensure our customers – current and new – get the high quality sections and service they rightly expect.

“The last few years have been particularly tough for this region’s steel industry but despite the challenges we still face, I’ve every confidence British Steel will play a key role in Teesside’s future.”