Moss Bay Hematite Iron Company.

A look at the early history of the Moss Bay Iron works.

Page 2

This is a scan of a photograph of a badly damaged postcard and has been digitally repaired. The view is taken from what was latterly the WISCo General Office and the bridge stood until 2002 when it was replaced by a footbridge. The near side elevator witht he two sheave wheels on top supports a long, dog-legged staircase which was the access to the charging platform. At ground level, one can make out a railcrane with a small steam locomotive puffing away just behind it. On the sidings can be seen an LNWR (London & North Western Railway) Coke wagon and at least two St. Helens Colliery (Siddick, North of Workington) coal wagons. Coke wagons are distinguished from coal wagons by being built taller and having additional open planks (latter day truckers call them "Greedy boards") at the top. Coke is less dense than coal, so greater volume could be transported in the same length and weight capacity of wagon.

World leaders in rail technology - a view from the 1970s

This is how the works looked from almost the same place in the late 1970s. This is when WISCo was part of British Steel. The Moss Bay blast furnaces have long disappeared and been replaced by the rolling mills, cooling banks, rail straightening section and railbank. Those are the Derwent Blast Furnaces, which can be seen in the right backgrond of the top picture.

Immediately above the sign is one of the electric overhead travelling cranes and there are stacks of finished rails on the ground below.

This view of the Moss Bay works is not dated but other photographs show that in 1909 the overhead crane gantry had not been built, but it was there in a 1930 aerial photograph. That puts the date somewhere in between. The first 16 ton bessemer converters were installed in 1912 and the tall shed like structure could be the bessemer melt shop so this is likely to have been taken circa 1919 when WISCo became part of the United Steel Companies.

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