General Views of the Works

A selection of views taken mainly at or near the main entrance. They are undated but where possible an idea of when the photographs may have been taken is indicated.

NOTE : When you have clicked on an image it can be further enlarged by clicking again on the arrow box at the bottom r/h corner. To close the image simply click on it again.


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The Original SSD Main Entrance Sign

The first Special Steels Division sign outside the main entrance – ‘A’ Gate, March 1970, freshly erected with stepladder still in place, scaffolding from the dismantled original BSC ‘Northern & Tubes Division’ sign lying in the foreground and up-lighting yet to be installed. See the next image taken from the back of this original photograph giving details….


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The Original SSD Main Entrance Sign

Interesting information from the back of the photograph stating that this was the first BSC sign replacing the previous S&L one, erected on Sunday 29 March 1970.


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The Main Entrance

A colour photograph of the main entrance in 1973. This connects to the next image (immediately to the right)


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Main Entrance Sign in Colour

Adjacent to the main entrance, a rare colour photo of the original SSD sign.


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New, Blue Entrance Sign

A still image from unidentified video/film footage showing the traffic of a shift change and, in the background, the new blue background Sheffield Division sign which replaced the white one of the Special Steels Division in 1975.


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The Main Entrance Sign

A black and white photograph of the Sheffield Division sign.


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The Main Entrance Sign

A colour photograph of the sign, this one sadly taken after closure, as the site was being demolished (note the wrecking cranes).


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‘A Gate’ Main Entrance

A nice colour photograph taken at the main entrance off the Millfields Rd during the BSC era. Given the absence of cars and the lowered barrier I would guess this was taken during a shutdown.


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A Closer View

The security office at the works main entrance.


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From the Entrance

A view taken from the Training Centre with the main road from A Gate entrance running from right to left in the foreground past the weighbridge. The low building where the cars are parked housed the Employment, Drawing and Work Study offices. Photo is undated but that Mark IV Cortina would put it sometime after September 1976.


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Training Centre I

Taken looking back towards the entrance shortly after construction of the Training Centre (early 1960’s). There is a distinct lack of vehicles however the bicycle shed looks full!


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Training Centre II

A closer look at the place where new employees would learn required skills. Roger Deans comments :“There were Apprentices and Works Operatives. Works Operatives were trained for semi skilled jobs in the works, whereas the Apprentices went on to hopefully become fully skilled and were indentured. Apprentices worked for lower wages although doing skilled jobs (many on day-release at college) whereas Works Operatives were on higher pay from the start. Operatives were usually on production and shifts within six months of starting, hence the difference in wages. Their short time in the Training Centre was spent mainly on Health and Safety whereas with apprentices it was mainly machine shop processes and bench work (the dreaded filing tests) as well as H&S and Iron & Steel Works processes.”


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Bilston Quality Steel

A good sharp picture of key members of the management team under a sign proclaiming Bilston’s metallurgical excellence during the Quality Campaign in 1976 with (L-R) John Cartwright, Bill Church-Works Manager, Stanley Smith-Metallurgical Manager and George Blakeley-General Manager.


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Bilston Works

A nice overall view, probably taken at the same time as the Steel News feature in July 1976 ‘Bilston Drive for Top Quality’ (See ‘Steel News 1973-77). The Employment, Drawing and Work Study offices are in the foreground, the large dark brick building in the near background with the rectangular white stone edged windows is the General Office, the lighter more modern looking building in the background is the office of Tarmac plc. The land in the middle foreground, full of what looks like wooden sleepers, between the hedges and the fence is that of BSC engineering company E.N. Wright who had their own entrance a few yards adjacent to that of the works.


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Bilston Works

Taken at the same time as the preceding picture given the same cars in the same spots (being an Austin 1800, an Austin Allegro, a Ford Cortina Mk III and an Austin Maxi). Another nice image, again, with Elisabeth dominating the background.


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General Office Extension

Here is a good shot of the flat roofed,two storey extension of the General Office. Starting left-to-right with the upper big windows, first two being in the sunlight…visible through the first is a glazed partition, the telex room being on the left side while the right was the billet sales order entry, next window and the first of three around the corner were billet home and export sales, with the view from the export desk being from just left of the first drainpipe (where I sat!). The left half of the middle window was billet sales whilst the right half and all the third window was bar sales as of 1973. Underneath was the area outside the ground floor wages office for the workforce to gather to collect weekly pay in packets every Friday afternoon. Of course Elisabeth was always directly in view every day.


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Main Entrance

Signpost at junction a few hundred yards from ‘A’ Gate. On the left are the bicycle sheds and part of the’Polish Camp’ which housed Polish workers who could not return home after the war and included a chapel. Ahead on the right is the water treatment plant.


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View From The Training Centre

Elisabeth is in clear view from the first floor windows of the Training Centre laboratory.


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Cricket Match

A match being played at the sports club with the works as the backdrop, unfortunately undated.


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Cricket Match II

Shutter depressed just as the batsman plays, fielders ready to pounce! The row of caravans housed temporary workers for Elisabeth’s reline which must date the picture around July/August 1976.


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The ‘Burma Road’ Entrance

Here is the main gate for all lorries bringing scrap into the works for the melting shop with one of three scrapyards visible in the near distance. The vehicle in the foreground is one of the three-wheeled, fibreglass cars for invalids called ‘Invacars’ which had a motor-cycle engine, a tiller rather than a wheel for steering and were a common sight on the roads at the time. This one clearly belonged to the security guard at the gate.


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Central Engineering Shop (CES)

A very good view of the CES (and the top half of ‘Lizzie’) on a warm summer’s day; undated but again likely to be mid late 1970’s. The other blue building to the left is the Engineering Spares Stores known locally as the ‘Shell Plant’ from days during World War II for tube products destined to go into ammunition production. The two figures enjoying a warm break are unfortunately just a little too far away to be recognised.


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Overall View from the South West

A very good view of both the melting shop and Elisabeth in the distance. Again the characteristic and equally spaced ‘oxide bands’ on the chimneys can be clearly seen…