1973 – 1977, Steel News

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The White Paper Issue

Government Announcement – Modernisation

I remember this particular edition which spelt out the future for BSC, stating that open hearth steelmaking would cease. This confirmed fears and cast a further shadow over Bilston meaning that unless electric arc furnaces were installed the works would close.


The White Paper Issue

The White Paper Issue

This edition followed on the heels of the January announcement going into the full details within the government white paper on BSC.


April 1973

April 1973

Roy Mortimore moved to Rotherham and Eric Cotterill arrived at Bilston. I remember this and rumours that Mr Cotterill had come to close the works even then…


Record Day in 1974

Record Day in 1974

Terrific performance by Elisabeth’s crew.


Export Team 1977

New Ingot Configuration

Bilston introduced ‘short head’ ingot practice to increase the size of ingot which provided a higher yield per ingot from the same cast quantity.


Prizegiving 1975

Prizegiving 1975

Good to see more names of employees. Fame at last ! (under ONC in Business Studies along with Ian Hemmings and Paul Williams).


BSC Bilston prixegiving invite

Prizegiving Invitation

Not really ‘Steel News’ but here is my invite associated with the preceding article.


Jim Latham

Prizegiving 1975

I receive my prize from Ross Giles, the Business Editor of the Express & Star, for passing my ONC (Ordinary National Certificate) in Business Studies taken an the Wulfrun College between 1972 and 1974. The suit was new and bought from John Collier (made to measure!) but I do not recall what the prize was !


Jim Latham

Jim Latham

Here, First Hand (Leading) Melter Jim Latham (not Lathan) receives just reward for his double – end firing invention for the open hearth furnace. He discussed this with me several times during my forays into the melting shop – see ‘DIARY’.


Ted Timmins

Ted Timmins

Here is an amusing article about Ted Timmins for whom I worked as a trainee in the Blast Furnace Office. He did have a distinctive chuckle…from time to time..!


Awards for Bowlers

Awards for Bowlers

I worked with Tony Turnbull when I moved into Billet Sales in November 1977. Bryn Jones was Melting Shop Manager and Malcolm Bacon worked in Production Control.


March 1976 - A New GM

March 1976 – A New GM

When Eric Cotterill moved on within BSC, George Blakely arrived from Shefield Rolling Mills which had been absorbed into the Corporation.


May 1976 - Birchley Works' Last Month

May 1976 – Birchley Works’ Last Month

Birchley works last few weeks. Birchley was located just off the large roundabout (Five Ways?) at the end of the Birmingham New Road.


Birchley Closes

Birchley Closes

A sad article on the end of production at Birchley.


Loco Idea

Loco Idea

Life went on at Bilston and here the Locomotive Department wins a suggestion scheme award.


July 1976 - Elisabeth to get a Sixth Campaign

July 1976 – Elisabeth to get a Sixth Campaign

Here is the good news that Elisabeth would be re-lined. This was greeted with revived hope and appeared to ensure that the works would continue for at least another five or six years given the cost of relining the blast furnace – a major undertaking.


Bilston's Drive For Quality

Bilston’s Drive For Quality July 1976

Christine Marks is perched on the roof of the training centre with a good view of Elisabeth (and Christine!). The buildings in view directly behind housed the Drawing Offices and Work Study Department and were on the right hand side of the main road into the works.


October 1976 - Golf Pride

October 1976 – Golf Pride

Bilston are winners again of the A.O. Peech (of Steel, Peech and Tozer – a pre-nationalisation steel company) Trophy…


Ted Timmins

Ironmaking Challenge: December 1976

Attempts by David Hunter to reduce the phosphorous element in Elisabeth’s iron output in a bid to improve efficiency in the steelmaking process.


Stan Smith Retires

Stan Smith Retires

The presentation for Chief Metallurgist Stan Smith in February 1977. I recognise Wolverhampton Works Quality Manager, Brian Littleford on the extreme left hand side of the picture.


Export Team 1977

New Ladle Lining and Export Order

Bilston continued to improve steelmaking practice with new firebricks taking an idea from Germany – and won a good export order from Italy (Dalmine SpA – I remember it!).


Elisabeth Causes Problems

Elisabeth Causes Problems

A difficult time for David Hunter and his team. A ‘Scaffold’ is when cold raw material sticks to the inside of the furnace and then builds up, effectively choking the process.


Elisabeth On Trial….

Elisabeth On Trial….

Looking to improve efficiency David Hunter calls in the BSC Labs to assist.


…And Gets Results

…And Gets Results

The work by the BSC Labs seems to have paid off…


Jim Latham

Jim Latham

Following his award (see ‘Steel News’ September 1975 – above) Jim Latham’s double end firing method breaks a nine year steelmaking record.


Elisabeth's Demise

Elisabeth’s Demise

Elisabeth was never to recover from this break in production only 12 months from commencing her Sixth Campaign.


Bilston Secretaries on Tour

Bilston Secretaries on Tour

Here are some familiar faces. Left to right : Irene Blewitt, Linda Bowers, Marlene Gelder, Carol Fellows, Edna Davies, Jean Pitt and editorial assistant Lorraine Caswell (right).


Peter Corfield

Peter Corfield

Peter was personable and clearly very capable. I remember he was a constant visitor in the Billet Sales office in the usual works apparel of white hard hat and spark proof jacket.


Double End Firing

Double End Firing

More vindication for Jim Latham with further conversion of ‘G’ Furnace.


Export Team 1977

Export Team 1977

My only other claim to fame as Export Co-ordinator, a sales role reporting to the Head Office at The Ickles in Rotherham. To my right is my right hand man (literally) at Bilston finishing end, Export Stocktaker Percy Clark.