Tyne and Wear HER(5075): Newcastle, The Close, Closegate Foundry/Steel Works - Details
Newcastle, The Close, Closegate Foundry/Steel Works
Metal Product Site
In 1693 William (or Wilhelm) Bertram, a steelmaker from Remscheid in Germany, was shipwrecked and stranded on the north Durham coast. A few years later he was reported to be charge of steelmaking at a furnace in Newcastle, possibly owned by Hayford. Evidence suggests that the works were in the region of The Close. R.R. Angerstein left a sketch of this area in 1753. Bertram later transferred to Blackhall Mill (HER 1017). The furnace at Newcastle was let to a Mr Hall before 1753. He acquired a second furnace of a similar size, presumably on the same site. It measured 132 inches x 32 inches x 22 inches, each chest holding 5 tons of iron. The charcoal used was from juniper or alder (unusual choice). Firing lasted from 5 to 6 days and used £2 worth of coal. The two workers each received 7s 6d per week. The furnaces between them consumed about 150 tons annually of Dannemora iron, costing £21 per ton. Fifteen years later the steel from Newcastle and Blackhall Mill still held the reputation of being the best in England. Robsahm's account of 1761 reports on the activities of Mr Hodgson of The Close, Newcastle, who had a foundry and some steel furnaces. Angerstein had associated Derwentcote furnace with the name of Hodgson eight years previously. By 1811 the Newcastle furnaces were in the care of the Cookson family. In 1851 T. Cookson and Company are listed as steelmakers in The Close and at Forth Banks. In 1853 they are only listed as ironfounders at South Street. On the 1863 list they are only listed at Derwentcote. There is a foundry shown on The Close on 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. It can only be concluded that the Newcastle furnace was abandoned between 1851 and 1853.
<< HER 5075 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1850; K.C. Barraclough, Blister Steel - the birth of an industry, Steelmaking before Bessemer, Vol 1, The Metals Society, London