11 Jul 2020
This is a
Current status is
Demolished, though some remains lie in situ
The site is now Dene Park and charming woodland.
'The remains of an 18th and 19th century ironworks site lie by the River Blyth at Bedlington. Bedlington Ironworks was founded in 1736 and ironworking was carried out on both banks of the river for over 140 years. The most notable phase in the history of the Bedlington Iron and Engine Works was in the 19th century. At that time it played an important part in the development of the early railways through the invention of malleable rails. The rails were patented in December 1820. Locomotive works were begun in 1836 on the Blyth side of the river and closed in 1855. Two furnaces were built on the north bank in about 1820, but they were not in use for long and fell into disuse. The works were at their peak in 1850 producing rails and forgings for the Crimean War effort. Finished products were sent down river in keels and shipped at Blyth.
The works were finally abandoned in 1867 although the last remains were not finally cleared away until the 1950s when the park was created. Despite this, a few features can still be seen in the park.'
- Keys to the Past
A full history on the site can be found at Graces Guide. Here is the link: https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Bedlington_Ironworks
Both Ordnance Survey maps above illustrate the Ironworks along the River Blyth in the latter half of the 19th century. Frustratingly, the first from 1866 is damaged by what is probably tape, and makes it difficult to study the area. One thing that can be noted though is the scale of industry along the Blyth at the time. From the west is a small mill, then along the meander of the river the large complex of industrial buildings on both sides of the river illustrate its importance to the area. Various terraced dwellings can be seen on either side of the river also, likely accomodating its workers. A Waggonway also linked the Ironworks at one point or another to Bedlington Station to the north.
The Ironworks were actually abandoned in the late 1860s, so by the second edition in 1898 many of the buildings had been demolished. As noted above large remnants existed for another century, and some of those can be seen on this map, along a small country lane along Bedlington bank. It seems the other side of the river was known as 'Bebside Furnace', referencing its heritage.
By the 40s, the area had changed significantly, with lines of dwellings, hotels and public houses. Nothing is marked on this map showing that one of the most significant industrial sites in the country once lied here, though some buildings are shaded which may have been in relation. It was 10 years later where many of the major features were removed to landscape the new park area, though even today some relics can be seen including the brick walls lining the river and another walled structure next to Furnace Bank.
Photograph of the Ironworks pre 1880. It shows the full extent of the complex even though it was closed by this time. A chimney lied in situ and much of the foundations remained. A boy can be seen walking up Furnace Bank on the Bedside half, along with a number of industral buildings down the lane.
Retrieved from Billy Embleton on Flickr
Illustration of the ironworks at its greatest extent in the 19th century. The chimneys are bellowing and the water is flowing it seems on this image, and shows the ironworks from the bank on Bedside. The chimney on the image above is likely that on the left of this picture. 2 figures in a rowing boat can be seen to the right, likely close to the thin bridge constructed over the Blyth.
Retrieved from http://www.sixtownships.org.uk/bedlington-ironworks-by-chris-bergen.html - This is another great resource to find out more on the site
Grainy photograph of the complex in 1910. Furnace Bridge can be seen in the background and a small trail leading off Furnace Bank. It is clear that at this point the site was overgrown, but even then the remants of the ironworks are obvious.
Retrieved from Cympil on Bedlington.co.uk
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