Iron and Steel
Swalwell Industries in the Fifties
Opencast Coal Disposal Point
After World War II a plant was built in Swalwell for the transfer of coal from opencast mines from road to rail. A steady stream of lorries brought the coal to the plant at the junction of Millers Lane and Long Rigg where it was screened and poured into railway wagons which would then be shunted into sidings until there were enough to make up a train which would then be coupled up to a locomotive and taken away down the short branch to join the freight line at Derwenthaugh.
Coal came from opencast sites at Cut Thorn off Fellside Road near Whickham, Horsemouth near Ravensworth, Lumley Castle, Plawsworth, Maiden Law near Lanchester and Horsley in Northumberland. When the Metro centre was extended west the facility was closed and IKEA now occupy part of the site.
J W Ellis
Near the opencast coal depot was the firm of J W Ellis which also had railway sidings, with a crane loading girders onto the railway wagons that were also taken away via Derwenthaugh. The works are still in use by other firms. Formerly called Hannington's Works and engaged in engineering and scrap handling, Ellis had offices nearby and after the firm closed they were used by Metro Radio (picture from 1984 above) for many years.
General Concrete Products
This firm made concrete kerbs, paving stones and many other concrete products. They were situated near the Keelman's Bridge in the heart of the village and Mr C Patterson was the manager. A large moving crane moved heavy materials around the site.
Raine Steel Company
The oldest established industry in the area, formerly known as Crowley Works and founded in Winlaton in 1691. Under the ownership of Benjamin and George Raine it later became the Delta Ironworks (or Raines factory) at Derwenthaugh from 1891 to 1990 it produced many materials for the mining industry, ships, etc.. It had a good access to a main railway line with its own private sidings. It had also two deep-water berths. This provided a useful exit to local shipyards, collieries and for export shipments. Scrap metal was brought in from Consett, Middlesbrough, Belgium and Iceland. The firm was contractor to the Admiralty, Board of Trade and exported to the colonies and commonwealth.
Raines Delta Works in 1983
Big expansion in the first world war following increased demand for its products and again in the second world war, the decline in mining and other industry led to its demise and eventual closure in 1990.
This company employed Blacksmiths who made wrought ironware but it also became famous for the work of its Anchorsmiths who specialised in the manufacture of anchors of different weights.It was converted into a sawmill in the early 1900's.The last owners to operate the plant as a forge were Bagnalls.
Crowleys Iron Works 1707- 1911
This later became Northumberland Paper Mills.