Steel making at Consett
In the 17th Century, German sword makers were settled at Shotley Bridge and the Derwentcote Steel Furnace across the river from the trail at Allensford dates to about 1730.
Steelmaking came to dominate industry in Consett due to the abundance of the raw materials; iron ore, high-quality coking coal and limestone. In the mid-19th Century, there were four coal mines; coal and iron ore could be won from the same mine.
Local businessmen took advantage and formed the Derwent Iron Co in 1840. The company had mixed fortunes and changed hands several times until it became the Consett Iron Company in 1866 and the production changed from iron to steel in 1882.
Over the next 100 years, Consett became one of the world’s leading steelmaking towns. The Consett Iron Company was absorbed into British Steel in 1967 and re-named Consett Steel Works (CSW).
With the decline of coal mining from the 1960s, Consett workers became more reliant than ever on CSW for employment which made the closure of the works in 1980 a catastrophe for the town.
Ownership of the site passed from Government to the Local Authority, at the time Derwentside Council, which set up Project Genesis to remediate the land using a ‘Derelict Land Grant’ from the Government. Dysart Developments were selected as the private partners for this joint venture.
In the late ’80s, the Project Genesis Trust (PGT) a registered charity, was formed with the responsibility for the regeneration of the Consett steelworks site and the reinvestment of funds from the development into the provision of environmental, recreational and social benefits for local people.