History of British Steel
In 1979, state-owned British Steel Corporation had 135,000 employees. By 1993 it had transformed into the privately-owned British Steel, with ~41,000 employees.
For history of newly-relaunched British Steel, click history of new British Steel.
The timeline below covers the history of the firm.
- 1949: Iron & Steel Act nationalises some 96 steel firms in the UK.
- 1951: Iron & Steel Corp of Great Britian established as a holding.
- 1953: Industry returned to private ownership by Conservative Gov.
- 1967: Iron and Steel Act creates the British Steel Corporation (BSC).
- 1970: BSC has 21 integrated steelmaking sites.
- 1972: Hoogovens and Germany's Hoesch merge to form Estel.
- 1980: The year commences with a 13 week national UK steel strike.
- 1980: Steelmaking operations stopped at Shotton, UK.
- 1980: BSC closes down the Consett Iron and Steel Works.
- 1980: Investment in DRI at Hunterston [facility never used].
- 1980: BSC now has just five major steelmaking sites.
- 1981: Demolition undertaken of iron & steelmaking at Ebbw Vale.
- 1981: BSC & GKN form jointly-owned Allied Steel & Wire (Phoenix 1).
- 1982: Hoogovens / Hoesch partnership in Estel is dissolved.
- 1984: BSC & GKN form United Engineering Steels group (Phoenix 2).
- 1984: BSC & JFB forgings jv: Sheffied Forgemasters (Phoenix 3).
- 1984: Tuscaloosa Steel jv started in the USA.
- 1988: BSC privatised in December 1988.
- 1990: British Steel purchase of 45 percent of Aristrain in Spain.
- 1991: Ravenscraig hot strip mill closed in April.
- 1991: Formation of electrical steel jv with the Swedish SSAB.
- 1992: Closure of remaining Ravenscraig steelmaking complex.
- 1992: Avesta Sheffield jv established with Avesta of Sweden.
- 1993: Closure of Templeborough Steel Works, Rotherham.
- 1993: Closure of Shotton steel processing plant in North Wales.
- 1994: Formation of Trico jv with Sumitomo Metal Industries and LTV.
- 1999: Merger of British Steel & Koninklijke Hoogovens as Corus.
- 2001: Closure of front-end steel-making plant in Llanwern, Wales.
- 2001: Cessation of all steel operations at Ebbw Vale.
- 2002: Sale by Corus of stake in AvestaPolarit to Outokumpu.
- 2005: Steelmaking stopped at Stocksbridge, UK.
- 2005: Teesside slab offtake deal signed with foreign consortium.
- 2006: Sale to Aleris of aluminium products businesses.
- 2007: Tata Steel acquires Corus for ~$13 billion.
- 2007+: See Tata Steel history page.
- 1949: Iron and Steel Act was implemented by a post war Labour government.
- 1967 Iron & Steel Act the created the BSC - this was formed by privatising the 14 largest steel companies that accounted for ~90% of steel output.
- Ebbw Vale converter shop and blast furnaces were closed in 1975; hot strip mill was closed in 1977.
- British Steel direct reduction plant was installed in Hunterston, Scotland in 1980 - but never commenced operation because low cost price assumptions concerning future North Sea natural gas proved unfounded. The facility was later dismantled and relocated in 1997 to Mobile, Alabama, USA.
- 1980: Corby Steel works [producing iron and steel as well tube - originally named the Stewarts & Lloyds Works, with origins in the 1930s] closed its iron and steelmaking in 1980 and 1981, although tube making (as at mid-2011) continues.
- 1980: Five major remaining BSC steelmaking sites are Port Talbot, Llanwern, Ravenscraig, Scunthorpe and Teesside.
- 1984: United Engineering Steels brought together four BSC Sheffield plants with GKN's Brymbo Works as a 69:31 BSC:GKN owned venture.
- 1984: Tuscaloosa Steel was a joint venture of British Steel, Tippins, O'Neal Steel and American Cast Iron Pipe Company. The Steckel mill facility originally purchased slab from British Steel. Following investment in new EAF furnaces Tuscaloosa sourced significant DRI from Mobile DRI, a Tuscaloosa Steel subsidiary located 200
miles to the south.
- 1984: Phoenix 3 involved net asset contributions of ~71% from JFB (Johnson and Firth Brown) and ~29% from BSC.
- 1991: Electrical steel jv with SAAB was called European Electrical Steel. British Steel had a 75% equity stake.
- 1992: Avesta Sheffield was also the second largest stainless steel producer in the world at this time, behind Usinor Sacilor of France. British Steel had a 40% stake in the newly formed venture.
- 1994: Trico was a flat rolled steel mini-mill completed in 1997. LTV had a 50% interest, Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. and British Steel plc owned 25% each.
- 2001: Hot rolling mills and cold-reversing and continuous hot dip galvanising lines were maintained at Llanwern after closure of steelmaking, and remain in placed as at mid-2011.
- 2005: The Teesside Cast Products (TCP) Consortium partners included Marcegaglia, Dongkuk, Duferco and Ternium.
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