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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Consett - a company town

Part of an online exhibition to mark the fortieth anniversary of the closure of Consett Steel Works in 1980.

Main mill in operation, Consett Steel Works, 4 November 1960 (D/Co 12/11(59)) - Copyright © Durham County Record Office

Consett steel works expanded from modest beginnings to dominate the town. You can see clearly how the area changed between the 1850s and 1939 by comparing Ordnance Survey plans.

Ordnance Survey plan of Consett, mid-1850s (DT(11.14)A) - Copyright © Durham County Record Office

Ordnance Survey plan of Consett, 1939 (DT(11.14)D) - Copyright © Durham County Record Office

Blast furnaces at Consett Steel Works, c.1980 (ND/De 61/11) - Copyright © Durham County Record Office
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The progression from pig iron to high quality steel, required by fast-developing railways and shipyards, affected the whole county, especially as the steel industry depended on a steady supply of coal and its by-products.

Consett Works created employment and housing for thousands of workers. It became an ever-present feature and dominated community life in Consett.


Images on this page:

  • Main mill in operation, Consett Steel Works, 4 November 1960 (D/Co 12/11(59))
  • Ordnance Survey plan of Consett, mid-1850s (DT(11.14)A)
  • Ordnance Survey plan of Consett, 1939 (DT(11.14)D)
  • Blast furnaces at Consett Steel Works, c.1980 (ND/De 61/11)