These are my own photographs of Elisabeth taken on various dates in 1972 and 1973. See captions for details. (Apologies for the formatting on this page – I will try to improve it).
A print from 1974
I took this from the highline but in a poor position relative to the sun and a little too close. This was from when matt finish prints first came in which turned orange over time. Unfortunately the negatives have long gone so I have colour corrected as best as I can on the computer…
This slide from December 1972 turned out so much better than I expected when I pressed the shutter. The cast house looks like Dante’s Inferno with hot metal in full flow. The bars are handles to gates which control the direction of the flow to the ladles below. The ‘feathery’ sparks are very typical of molten iron.
A close up of the apparatus to open and close the slag notch. The stopper rod on the curved runner was called the slag bott and simply rolled back into position to close after the slag had been ‘flushed’.
A good view of the slag notch which was to the right of and elevated above the taphole looking at the furnace from the cast house floor. The curved sheet of metal hanging above the notch was a heatshield to protect the bustle main.
Bustle Main and Deck
Taken near the entrance looking towards the far end of the cast house. The curved bott guide apparatus for the slag notch can be seen on the left. Overhead the silver painted but now blistered bustle main encircles the furnace above with goose necks and tuyeres below. The blue flames are from gas present even at this low level which is ignited for safety. Coolant water cascades down the bosh and collects in a trough visible just above the flames.
Elisabeth from Casting Bay Ramp
Taken on a crisp and clear December’s day in 1972. The railway line on the left was for iron ladle trucks while on the right, slag trucks. Near the entrance to the ramp on the left can be seen the No Entry ‘Furnace Casting’ sign which flashed when Elisabeth was casting.
From the side door to the Melting Shop
This was as far back as I could get without getting the opening to a small side door to the melting shop in the picture. Again,taken on a very clear morning in December 1972 this image has been used a number of times in the media – and for the plaque at the roundabout outside Bilston.
Another 1973 Print
A good view from another ‘orange’ print looking up from the dustcatcher to the furnace top, revealing a little more detail and pipework. Elisabeth’s original silver paint is clearly in evidence.