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Scunthorpe steel reaches a 125-year milestone

Products offered by the Safety Storage Centre and its Supply Centre sister companies rely on the qualities of a product first made in Scunthorpe 125 years ago this month, only a few miles from where we care for our customers today.

Life in the 21st century couldn’t be lived without steel. It is the foundation for everything we do. What isn’t made of it is manufactured with it or using tools made from it. Everything is moved with its help – and 125 years ago this month Scunthorpe was at the cutting edge of changing the world with it.Steel Work Anniversary

That was when the town was involved with the white heat, quite literally, of technology, when steel was made here for the very first time.

But the world of Scunthorpe steel in 1890 was very different from the one we’re familiar with today. The homes of the workers making it weren’t lit with electric light; there were no cars, no radio, and certainly no television. Conan Doyle had only just begun to write about Sherlock Holmes, Stan Laurel and Agatha Christie were born, and it would be another 50 years before the home freezer made frozen food commonplace.

The driving force behind steel in Scunthorpe was an Austrian called Maximilian Mannaberg, who built the town’s first steelworks for a little more than £110,000; a small enough sum by today’s standards, but about twice the budget he’d had available when he started the project.

Mannaberg’s legacy in steel

Although all of this was happening 125 years ago, it has left a legacy that gives Northern Lincolnshire a worldwide reputation. Thousands have worked in the industry and depended on it; tens of thousands more still do. Scunthorpe steel has shaped skylines on every continent, as well as much closer to home. It’s in the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carriers and forms the longest suspension bridges in the world – but you’ve undoubtedly bought some too, perhaps as bedsprings, or paper clips, a spiral-bound notebook or the cords bracing the tyres on your car. Even the wire fittings in bras are made using it, and London’s commuters already rely on it daily, not least in the rails, for Underground and over ground trains. The site can make steel more than 100 metres long. The contribution continues; this month steel is being made for the ongoing Cross rail project.

Family matters in the industry – Tata Steel Scunthorpe

Another very important, but often overlooked, element of the steelmaking story is the concept of ‘family’. It’s true that people working in steel see themselves as a family, and Tata Steel Scunthorpe is part of a family-owned global operation. Families in and around Scunthorpe have relied on employment in the industry for generations. Even here at the Safety Storage Centre our company is part of The Supply Centre family, having several sister companies. All of them set a great deal of store by the qualities of steel, because it’s in the vast majority of our products, which couldn’t exist without it and will continue to do a valuable job for years on behalf of the extended family made up of our customers.

Hardened, toughened, and shaped with precision, steel is a valuable servant in every home and business. Mannaberg would have been proud.

Did you know?

Even ‘copper’ coins are made of steel. Go on, hold one against a magnet and prove it for yourself.


Picture: Tata Steel



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