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22 May 2018

Teesside Beam Mill marks 60th anniversary by investing in the future

British Steel’s Teesside Beam Mill is marking its 60th anniversary by building for the future.

The mill, which manufactures large steel sections for the construction industry, has helped transform the world’s skyline by providing steel for scores of iconic buildings - from The Shard in London to the new World Trade Centre in New York.

Its 400 employees at Lackenby are proud to be maintaining Teesside’s global reputation for manufacturing excellence by continuing to supply steel across the globe.

And this month they’ve been joined on a permanent basis by 11 new colleagues who’ve completed manufacturing apprenticeships with British Steel and Middlesbrough College.

TBM: 60 years in 60 seconds – view our video here.

Teesside Beam Mill’s (TBM’s) Plant Manager, Andy Williams, is also its longest serving employee, having joined the Business as a Technical Apprentice in 1976 and first worked at the mill in 1984 in the Technical function.

Andy said: “It’s great to celebrate our 60th anniversary by welcoming 11 new people into the business. They’ve all got fantastic career prospects and I’ve every confidence they’ll build bright futures for themselves, their colleagues and British Steel.”

One of the new employees, Shane Ankers, said: “I really enjoyed my apprenticeship and it’s fantastic to have joined British Steel on a permanent basis. I’m excited about what the future holds for myself and the business.”

Andy said the new employees are joining a business which is proud to fly the flag for Teesside and its rich iron and steelmaking heritage.

He said: “While our heritage is a source of great pride among our employees – past and present, our eyes are firmly focussed on the future.

“The skill and dedication shown by generations of Teesside steelworkers helped put this area on the map. Businesses across the world knew that if they were getting steel made in this area they were getting the best steel money could buy and that’s still the case today.

“There was once a time when if you didn’t work in the steel industry you knew someone who did. So, over the years, it’s been upsetting to see the number of mill closures and job losses throughout the area.

“It makes our 60th anniversary even more poignant, and makes us doubly determined to continue building a brighter future for our employees. I’m really excited about our future and am confident we’ll write many more new chapters in Teesside’s history of making steel.”

The opening of Teesside Beam Mill marked the completion of a £60-million development programme of Dorman Long. Digging for the foundations started in 1954, closely followed by the erection of steelwork.

The first plant for installation was delivered in July 1955 and in 1958 the Roughing, Edging & Finishing Stands were commissioned. A short time later the first beam was rolled in the new Combined Universal Beam and Heavy Section Mill which is now known as Teesside Beam Mill.

Following commissioning, regular execution of orders commenced and by the end of the year the team delivered a shift record of 752 tons. Today a typical shift can produce double that figure.

The first rolling of large beams were - quite literally - used down the road, in the Catterick By-Pass A1 upgrade scheme. And, from that day on, TBM has continued to supply high quality sections to major projects, high rise buildings and bridges. Projects include those a little closer to home such as Heathrow’s Terminal 5, to those further afield like the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

More recently TBM has, through British Steel’s partnership with Caledonian Modular, supplied steel into the construction of Europe’s largest hotel-style development for 25 years. The accommodation will be used by workers building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Its sections are also going into a major new development in Central America – the Belize Civic Centre Sports Complex while it’s also supplied thousands of tonnes of steel into many of the major retailers’ huge warehouses, including an Aldi distribution centre on the Isle of Sheppey.

TBM’s steel also goes into other buildings such as colleges, stadia and office developments – recent ones being Charter Place, an office development in Uxbridge, and Bridgwater College’s new build Advanced Engineering Centre in Somerset.

Richard Farnsworth, Managing Director Construction, said: “We’ve an excellent track record of providing high quality steel into a wide range of buildings, from skyscrapers to schools, and believe there are great opportunities for us – particularly in some of the major infrastructure projects set to take place in this country in the coming years.

“We supplied steel into Heathrow Terminal 5 and hope to be a key supplier to the airport’s latest expansion plans. TBM is also well-positioned to play a significant role in the construction of HS2.

“We’re extremely excited by projects like these, and many others, and that’s why we continue to recruit and continue to invest in our plant, our products and this region.

“Our neighbouring Teesside Service Centre, where we’ve recently invested millions of pounds, is performing strongly - providing a diverse range of steel to growing numbers of contractors, fabricators and stockholders. And a short distance from TBM is Redcar Bulk Terminal which is flourishing after British Steel acquired a 50% per cent stake in it.

“These are exciting times for British Steel on Teesside and we’re looking to the future with great optimism – not only for our business, our people and our customers but for the whole region.”

5 things you didn’t know about Teesside Beam Mill


• The mill was originally designed to manufacture between 8,000-10,000 tonnes of beams and columns per week. It now has the capacity to manufacture up to one million tonnes of steel a year.

• The mill’s steel played an important role in the UK’s road development programme as Lackenby’s beams and columns simplified the design and construction of the many highways bridges required as vehicle ownership soared

• Before coming under the ownership of British Steel on June 1 2016, TBM had several owners including the former British Steel Corporation

• TBM’s feedstock is produced at British Steel’s integrated steelworks in Scunthorpe. The steel slabs are transported to the Teesside plant by train – largely on rails manufactured at the same site 100 miles away in North Lincolnshire

• TBM isn’t the only facility that British Steel owns in the North East – it also owns the Teesside Service Centre, the Special Profiles business in Skinningrove, a metal centre in Newcastle and it has a 50% per cent stake in Redcar Bulk Terminal.