Redcar Blast Furnace is the most important industrial structure in the whole country

by | Sep 9, 2020 | Community, Redcar Blast Furnace, Voices

“We can be proud of it for it stands ICONIC on the estuary, of perhaps the most managed, reclaimed river mouth in history, the skeleton for which was provided by slag, that bi-product of the manufacture of iron.”

In Portugal, Spain, Japan and perhaps most effectively in Germany, blast furnace structures have been preserved, so forming an indelible link with the past.

The notion of the importance of ‘heritage’ has become increasingly significant as a financial boost in the diversification of many country’s economies.

Heritage is important, and fortunately the Tees has a ‘modern’ abundance of it.

Middlesbrough was the ‘infant Hercules’ of Mr Gladstone, the furnaces of the Tees producing around one third of the world’s iron needs in 1881.

…and the Tees has little else, no castles or cathedrals, no half timber medieval structures or ancient pannier ways, but we do have extremely modern, and very significant structures, several in fact, with Redcar No.1 Blast Furnace being the most important IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

Not only was the furnace designed to be functional, but as with all good functional designs it is also very beautiful and stands alongside the Transporter Bridge as a kind of talisman to the Tees Valley.

Seen as a piece of ‘Public Art’ it far outranks any other piece of public sculpture, ANYWHERE.

WE can be proud of it for it stands ICONIC on the estuary, of perhaps the most managed, reclaimed river mouth in history, the skeleton for which was provided by slag, that bi-product of the manufacture of iron.

Standing nearly as tall as St. Paul’s Cathedral, when glimpsed from Yearby Bank, or from Hartlepool, or from the A19 and many places in between it generates in me a great sense of PRIDE OF PLACE, for where the blast furnace stands can only be Teesside… which is the one of the greatest argument for its retention and preservation.

Ian Macdonald


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