Steel days of Workington are remembered at social event
Last updated at 21:20, Thursday, 19 July 2012
“It was such a big part of the community”, says 81-year-old Ronald Burrow, who worked at the old steelworks in Workington for more than 30 years.
Mr Burrow, of Lawson Street, Maryport, was speaking this week at a drop-in session at Workington Library for former workers of the Moss Bay Steelworks and Chapel Bank.
Workers took in photos, newspaper cuttings and shared memories with former colleagues.
Mr Burrow worked in several jobs at the steelworks from 1946 to about 1980, including as a steel controller and an arc furnace shift manager.
He says: “I have lots of special memories.
“When the tide used to come in and the winds were high, the sea used to hit the sea wall.
“It used to flood the bessemer shop and we had to stop work.
“I don’t know how we worked in those conditions.
“Health and safety, they didn’t know what it was!”
Jim and Merle Wilson, of Castlehead Close, Keswick, married in 1955 after meeting while working at Chapel Bank.
Jim, 79, was working in the cost office and Merle, 77, in the drawing office, and the company presented them with a bookcase as a wedding present.
He says: “It was like a big family.
“It was a really good place to work for. The expectation was that you could work there for life.
“Everybody knew each other.”
Andrew Malville, 83, of Main Road, Seaton, started at the steelworks at the age of 15 putting stoppers in ladles.
He went on to become an assistant foreman and engineer and retired at the age of 55 for his 40 years service.
He followed in the footsteps of his father, who worked at the bessemer furnace for 50 years.
He says: “I loved the steelworks. I wouldn’t have worked anywhere else.
“Most people expected to get work in the steelworks. The majority of the lads in Moss Bay worked there.”
Trevor Moreton, 65, of King’s Avenue, Seaton, worked at the steelworks from 1964 to 1966 and at Chapel Bank from 1967 until its closure.
He says that at Chapel Bank the heat was so extreme that every hour they had to take salted drinks to keep hydrated.
But he added that it actually tasted quite good because it was usually flavoured with pineapple or orange.
Lorraine Harper, librarian at Workington Library, says the library would keep a collection of some of the documents and photos for people to view.
She added: “People can see the social side to the steelworks.”
She said the library plans to hold another drop-in session in the evening in a few weeks time.
First published at 19:20, Thursday, 19 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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