Stanton Iron-works, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, September 2020

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HughieD

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1. The History
Stanton Ironworks was once Ilkeston’s largest manufacturing concern and consequently the town’s biggest employer of local labour in the area. The Stanton and Staveley group were also part of the British Steel Corporation and at its peak provided 7,00 jobs.

Iron production dates back to Roman times, but it was Chesterfield-born Benjamin Smith and his son Josiah who put Stanton on the iron-making map in 1846. They brought three blast-furnaces into production alongside the banks of the Nutbrook Canal. Between 1865 and 1867 the original three furnaces were replaced with five new furnaces and the site become known as the Old Works. Smith’s furnaces produced about 20 tons of pig iron per day but the company soon experienced financial difficulties and there followed a series of take-overs during the middle of the 19th century.

Advert from Grace’s Guide, 1943:

2020-09-28_10-36-48 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Around then it was taken over by the Crompton family who owned it for over eighty years, re-naming it The Stanton Iron Company. Over the years it has produced spun iron pipes, pig iron and cast-iron tunnel segments, used in the construction of both the London Underground and the Mersey Tunnel. Also, during the First War of (1914-1918) it produced large numbers of shell casings and during the Second World War conflict of 1939-45, shell and bomb casings, gun barrels, and concrete air-raid shelter components.

A few archives pictures. One internal:
2020-09-28_10-36-15 by HughieDW, on Flickr
…and one external:

2020-09-28_10-39-25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

It was taken over by Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd and was merged with the Staveley Iron and Chemical Company Ltd in 1960 to form Stanton and Staveley before becoming part of the nationalised British Steel Corporation in 1967. Despite being the UK’s largest supplier of iron products, the work’s fortunes fluctuated with nationalisation, privatisation and re-nationalisation taking place. In the early 1980s it became part of the French Pont-a-Mouson Group and later part of Saint Gobain.

Production at Stanton Ironworks came to an end in May, 2007 resulting in the redundancy of 185 workers.

One claim to fame was that locally born actor Robert Lindsay (Wolfie Smith) once worked there in the 1960s before he became his acting career took off. There’s a really interesting video here:


2. The Explore
It seems like ages ago and back to the Autumn of last year when we were out of lock-down and able to travel. I'd had this place on the “to do” list for some time now. It’s a curious place as the ruined bit is bang in the middle of live parts of the complex. It’s a big site and there’s plenty more stuff to see, including a pump house, medical centre, and admin block.

It’s been a while since I’d met up with @BikinGlynn so we arranged to meet in the middle here for a look round given neither of us had done it before. Having parked up access was a walk up to the derelict part of the factory and although where we though we were going to get in had been sealed up, we soon found another entry point. Once in we started to snap away, aware that it was bang next to a live section. It’s a cracking place free from any graff and in a way, it’s surprising this place isn’t visited more often. On the way back we looked at the long building with its roof crane. Sadly, there was no way in we could see.

Overall, a really great place with plenty to see. You can’t beat a bit of heavy industry…

3. The Pictures
Let’s start with a few externals:

img9206 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9207 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9205 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9204 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9201 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9200 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And we’re in. First up a few office rooms:

img9129 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9131 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9152 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9132 by HughieDW, on Flickr

On to the main part of the factory:

img9134 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9151 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9137 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Big hook, little hook:

img9138 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And even bigger hook:

img9139 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9198 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Loving the roof beam colours:

img9145 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9161 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Old lathe:

img9150 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a few previous visitors from DP:

Stanton 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up-stairs to the former viewing platform:

Stanton 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some nice crane action:

Stanton 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9171 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9174 by HughieDW, on Flickr

More general shots:

img9166 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9183 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img9185 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A skip full of slag:

img9176 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Very photogenic:

img9192 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And right over by where the live section is:

Stanton 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And back out again:

Stanton 27 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stanton 28 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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baldereagle

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I took 2 colleagues Paul Davison and Diane Harley around this works in the late 90s when Stantons were producing sewage pipes for us. It was like going back in time even then, and a massive contrast with the brand new PaM pipe factory down the road. It was only the next day that penny dropped that my colleagues would have been better off making motorbikes !
 

night crawler

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Awesome, that Lathe & Milling machine brings back memories from when I used them and some of the heavy engineering from when I was an apprentice. Nice work
 

wolfism

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Great stuff, comprehensive set of photos. Stanton has a long history – up until the 1950's there were big blast furnaces on the site, and the Hallam Plant with its ridiculously heavy duty gantry crane was explorable for a little while in 2009, just before it was demo'd.
 

Kierana

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I took 2 colleagues Paul Davison and Diane Harley around this works in the late 90s when Stantons were producing sewage pipes for us. It was like going back in time even then, and a massive contrast with the brand new PaM pipe factory down the road. It was only the next day that penny dropped that my colleagues would have been better off making motorbikes !
In the 70/80’s used to ship lorry loads of cast iron S & S cast iron pipes to Iraq and to our factory (Waterskills Ltd) in limehouse London Dockland for machining prior to onward shipping to Iraq where we were building water treatment plants
 

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