Report - - The OHP South Bank Middlesbrough March 2010 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The OHP South Bank Middlesbrough March 2010


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
This is the old Ore Handling Plant building and offices at South Bank or what used to be called the Cleveland works of Dorman Long Steel Ltd later to become British Steel. I have put this report in this section as its on Corus property and right next to the still very active South Bank Coke ovens. Security are still constantly patrolling despite the recent and very unfortunate mothballing of the Redcar blast furnace and other parts of the works. I saw at least 2 security vans on this visit which requires crossing a works internal road. Anyway i'm sure this site hasnt been reported on before its an old fav of mine so i thought it deserved a report though with Corus losing interest in steelmaking on Teesside i cant see it getting demolished anytime soon, i'm guessing it has stood empty for at least 20 plus years when the Cleveland Iron and ore handling operations closed down for good. Not the greatest of buildings to look around but it does have industrial decay in abundance which i love.


This is an overall view of the site with the ohp building in front of the South Bank coke ovens in the background.


a few externals




This is a mid 1970s shot to give you an idea of the scale of operations at that time 5 blast furnaces 2 coke works the ore handling plant etc etc all thats left now is one coke works which is under threat of closure. The ohp building is the one at the very front middle of this pic.


This is an official Dorman Long pic of staff outside the offices dating from around mid 1960s.

Standing in about the exact spot as the above pic around 45 years later i did notice the old holes for the ohp sign on the wall.


On to some internals. There is an old travelling crane in here at the far end.



In one dusty old office i came across some Dorman Long paperwork underneath a mass of black dust presumably from the coke works next door.


upstairs corridor


the building in the distance is the Lackenby BOS plant now very quiet due to recent unfortunate events.


old lockers


steps to nowhere




the active coke works normally you dont get to see this side of the operations though really the best side is viewed from the public Black Path on the opposite side.


Final shot of the quenching tower after another batch of coke is cooled off. Thanks for looking.


Mark C.

28DL Member
28DL Member
Very nostalgic and moving! I worked at South Bank OHP as a young engineer for a period in 1973 doing burden calculations to get the right mix of ores, sinter and coke for the Clay Lane blast furnaces. South Bank Ironworks manager at the time was a (much feared!) Mr. Hunter. Manager at the OHP was a Scotsman, David Campbell, whom nobody could understand such was his accent! David spent very little time actually involved with the operations of the OHP except when things went wrong or the government environmental people arrived to find out why we were bypassing the electrostatic precipitators again and spewing clouds of red dust from the sinter plant all over South Bank. We even had covered car parking spaces to try and help keep the red dust off the cars. In the office, there was an old disabled bloke who, as far as I could tell, had two jobs. His most important job was to mash tea for David Campbell and the Assistant Manager, Fred Lillystone (sniffle, sniffle, sneeze*, sneeze* - * all over everything and everyone!) Fred was a nice guy, nearing retirement in 1973 and 'coasting' in his work to that goal. I wonder if he ever made it to that goal. So the bloke who made the tea, also had another job: mopping down everything in the office with a damp and usually dirty rag. You see, the red dust got everywhere. My shirts tuned an orange colour as did my vest (undershirt) and underpants, especially my behind from sitting on the filthy chairs! Outside the dust clogged up the railway tracks such that one day a train of open wagons being pushed from behind by a little diesel engine went off the track and straight on instead of curving around underneath the conveyor belt towards the coke ovens. The place can be seen in the aerial photo where there's several conveyor belts just up from the OHP. They were OK until everything came to a sudden halt when the leading wagon hit square on one of the lattice steel supports for the conveyor belt overhead. Not only did the train stop very quickly with a loud bang but so did the conveyor belt system. The dust coming off the shaken conveyor belt gantry matched the outpourings from the precipitators for a few minutes! Talking of conveyor belts, South Bank OHP conveyors were notorious for their poor operation. Rubber tags (rips) in the belting flew along and whiplashed from side to side as the belts sped forward. Nobody ever walked along the walkway beside the belt when it was running for fear of his life (there were no women working at the OHP in 1973, only Linda and Pauline in the office at Clay Lane). Then, when the belt stopped for any reason, if it was an inclined belt going uphill, it would often 'run back' under the weight of ore or sinter on it and dump a hefty pile at the base. Usually this was enough that the motor would not start the belt running again. So call in the gang of 20 or so labourers to shovel it all out enough so the belt would start. Then they had to shovel the remainder of the ore or sinter back onto the belt once it was running again. Ah, well! Those were the times. Many more stories I could tell bout the OHP but no time right now. After eight months at OHP I'd had enough and emigrated permanently to Canada where I still am!


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thanks for that Mark very interesting its great to actually hear from someone who worked there. I worked at South bank in 1977 just briefly mind for a plant hire firm which was very close to the works, there was a constant industrial humming sound in the air at all times. The place is a shadow of its former self now sadly. Oh did you recognise any one in that photo of the staff outside the offices. I knew one of them a friend of the family called Peter Fletcher. Would love to hear of any more stories you have of the place cheers.

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