British Steel Scunthorpe plant

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British Steel Scunthorpe plant, also known as Scunthorpe Steelworks, Appleby-Frodingham Steel Co (predecessor), and Normanby Park works (predecessor), is a 3200 thousand tonnes per annum (TTPA) blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) steel plant operating in North Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom.


The map below shows the location of the steel plant in North Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom.

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  • Location: Brigg Road, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, DN16 1BP United Kingdom[1]
  • Coordinates (WGS 84): 53.580827, -0.616509 (exact)


In February 2023, British Steel announced that it plans to close the plant's coke ovens due to high operation costs, potentially eliminating 260 jobs. [2] This move could also increase U.K. reliance on foreign imports in steel production. [3]

In July 2022, a worker fell to her death from a crane at the plant.[4]


Scunthorpe was formed when three steel plants in Scunthorpe merged, Appleby Frodingham Ironworks, Normanby Park works, and Redbourn Hill Ironworks.

Applebly Frodingham ironworks

Frodingham Ironworks was completed in 1865 in Scunthorpe village and Appleby Ironworks in 1876.[5] Crude steel was first made at Frodingham in 1887, though the steel was not viable until 1890.[5] In 1912, Appleby Iron Co and Frodingham Iron Co were combined to become Appleby-Frodingham Steel Co.[5] As of 1937, the plant capacity for crude steel was 4.8 million tonnes per year.[5] In 1945 the works was the largest in Britain, with a capacity of 700 million tons pa (5.5% national production), and occupied a 1700 acre site.[6] In 1939 two 22 ft diameter blast furnaces together with associated coke ovens and sinter plant were constructed on a site south of the earlier Appleby works, the location of the former North Lincolnshire Iron works.[6] Here future expansion of the plant was focused replacing plant at the Frodingham works.[6]

In the early 1950s the company expanded two of its blast furnaces (named "Queen Mary", No.9; and "Queen Bess"[6]), and in 1951 took the decision to start the construction of two further new furnaces to a similar diameter.[7][8] The new furnaces were officially opened in mid 1954, and older plant abandoned, with total capacity increased from 900,000 to 1,250,000 tons pa.[8] The expansion led to the closure of the iron works at Frodingham and the North Lincs works;[6] the last blast furnace in operation at Frodingham, No.1, was shut down in May 1954.[9]

Normanby Park works, John Lysaght

At the beginning of the 20th century John Lysaght was seeking entry to primary steel production to feed his rolling mills in South Wales.[10] Discussions and agreement with Sir Berkeley Sheffield on a lease of the iron ore containing land were made in 1905, and the decision was taken to establish a steelworks, with the estimated capital cost at under £350,000.[10]

During the Depression of 1920–21 the works was temporarily closed – iron and steel production was resumed in 1922 but the works operated at under capacity for the remainder of the decade.[10] At the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930s the works was reconstructed at a cost of £400,000 to specialize outside general mass market steels – as a result capacity utilizing was at 80% compared to an industry average of nearer 50%, though with very low profit margins.[10] During this period the works was primary supplier to the company's Orb Works in Newport.[10]

Due to oversupply in the industry the blast furnaces were again temporarily shut down in 1938.[10] In 1939 the company was notified by government official that the works work be required to supply steel for projectile Shells.[10]

During the post war period the works was planned to increase output to 500,000 ingot tons pa – by 1955 this figure had been exceeded with production at 600,000 tons pa.[6] Two Linz-Donawitz process converters of 60 tons capacity each were installed in 1964.[6]

Redbourn Hill Ironworks

The Redbourn Hill works shares were held by Monks and Hall (Warrington) in 1905, but sold to the Cwmfelin Steel and Tinplate Company in 1907/8. Initially the works functioned as a source of pig iron.[11][12] A single 100 ton oxygen based (Oberhausen rotor) steelmaking converter was installed at Redbourn in 1961.[6]

The Redbourn works was originally supplied by two hand charged furnaces built in 1875 and furnaces 3 and 4 were added in 1909 and 1919.[13] In 1951/2 the 1875 furnaces were replaced by a single furnace and No.4 furnace was closed in 1977, and No.3 furnace was closed in 1979; and the last furnace, No.2 was shut down in October 1979.[13]

British Steel Corporation period (1967–1999)

Nationalisation of UK steel operations led to the formation of the British Steel Corporation (BSC) in 1967.[14] Scunthorpe was chosen by the corporation as one of the five main production centres,[14] formally within the Midland regional division of BSC, and designated as a general steel producers.[6] Placing the three steel producers in the town under shared ownership gave opportunities for rationalization and greater efficiency – excess liquid steel and sinter were transferred between the works by rail.[6] Within the whole of BSC the 7 ft plate mill at Appleby-Frodingham (and at West Hartlepool) was closed and production transferred to Lackenby, North Yorkshire in around 1970.[6] Under the rationalization scheme known as the 'Heritage Programme' closures corresponding to 1.59 and 0.81 million tons of ingot steel were announced for Appleby-Frodingham and Redbourn works to take effect in 1973/4 and 1972/3 respectively.[6]

In the early 1970s the UK government announced £3 billion investment plan to modernise the companies main steel production sites (Scunthorpe, Lackenby, Llanwern, Ravenscraig, Port Talbot), increasing productivity by 50%, and reducing the total workforce by 50,000.[15]

At the around the beginning of the 1980s BSC made significant cutbacks to operations at Scunthorpe: all the ore mines closed; and most of the Redbourn works was shut,[16] use of the Lysaght's Normanby Park site ended in 1981[14] with all liquid steel production at the site ended by 1979.[13]

BSC was privatized in 1988 by the British Steel Act 1988. By 1990 the steelworks had been entirely converted from the open hearth to basic oxygen steel making process – the works employed 7,300 persons and had a production capacity of around 5 million tons pa of steel.[14]

Corus/Tata period (1999–2016)

In 1999 BSC merged with Koninklijke Hoogovens of the Netherlands to form Corus.[17][18] Corus was acquired by Tata Steel in 2007, forming Tata Steel Europe.[19]

British Steel period (2016–present)

In April 2016 the long products division including the Scunthorpe works as the only primary steel producer and main employer was sold by Tata to Greybull Capital for a nominal sum of £1.[20] The business was renamed British Steel Ltd.

In 2019, British Steel was nearly fined £500 million for violating carbon emission laws, and faced a bill of more than £100m to buy the necessary carbon allowances.[21]

In 2020, British Steel was acquired by the Hebei Jingye Group for 50 million pounds after struggling financing, and ownership of the British Steel Scunthorpe plant was transferred to the Hebei Jingye Group.[22][23] The Hebei Jingye Group announced it would invest over a billion pounds into upgrading the plant and prevent further job losses.[24]

In January 2021, a major blast occurred at the plant, likely caused by wet scrap being added to a furnace; luckily, no one was injured.[25] That same month, contracted scaffolding workers at the plant from Actavo were protesting for higher wages, and had been on strike for 12 weeks as of late January.[26]

Plant Details

Table 1: General Plant Details

Plant status Start date Workforce size
operating[27] 1864[28] 3000[29]

Table 2: Ownership and Parent Company Information

Parent company Parent company PermID Owner Owner company PermID
Jingye Group Co., Ltd. [100%][30] 5071576433 [100%] British Steel Ltd[31][27] 5052540433

Table 3: Process and Products

Steel product category Steel products Steel sector end users ISO 14001 Main production equipment Detailed production equipment
semi-finished; finished rolled[32] slab; blooms; rolled products[32] building and infrastructure; energy; tools and machinery; transport[33] 2021[34] blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF)[32] 3 BOF (3x330-tonne); coke ovens (planned closure for 2023)[35][32][36]

Table 4: Crude Steel Production Capacities (thousand tonnes per annum):

Basic oxygen furnace steelmaking capacity Nominal crude steel capacity (total)
3200 TTPA[36] 3200 TTPA

Table 5: Crude Iron Production Capacities (thousand tonnes per annum):

Blast furnace capacity Nominal iron capacity (total)
3000 TTPA[37] 3000 TTPA

Table 6: Upstream Products Production Capacities (thousand tonnes per annum)

Sinter Coke
>0 TTPA[32] >0 TTPA[32]

Blast Furnace Details

Table 7: Blast Furnace Details:

Unit name Status Start date Current size Current capacity
Anne; 3 operating[38] 1991[38] 1629 m³[39] 1500 TTPA[37]
Victoria; 4 operating[38] 1989[38] 1537 m³[39] 1500 TTPA[37]
Mary; 9 mothballed[38] 1986[38] 1255 m³[39] 1196 TTPA[39][36]
Bess mothballed[38] 1998[38] 1255 m³[39] 1196 TTPA[39][36]

Articles and Resources


  1. Archived from the original on 2021-11-21. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. [1], Ruxandra Iordache (2023-02-22). "British Steel proposes to close coking ovens in move that could cut 260 UK jobs". CNBC. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  3. Ruxandra Iordache (2023-02-22). "British Steel proposes to close coking ovens in move that could cut 260 UK jobs". CNBC. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  4. "Female employee dies at British Steel plant in Scunthorpe". The Lincolnite. 2022-07-18. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Appleby-Frodingham Steel Co, 1937 British Industries Fair, Retrieved from: Grace's Guide, Retrieved on: Mar. 16, 2020
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 Heal, David W. (1974), "The Steel Industry in Post War Britain", Industrial Britain, David and Charles, ISBN 0 7153 6565 7
  7. "The British Iron and Steel Industry in 1952" (PDF), The Engineer, vol. 195: 29–31, 2 January 1953
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The British Iron and Steel Industry in 1953 (No.II)" (PDF), The Engineer, 197: 66–68, 8 January 1954
  9. "Progress led town's No 1 furnace to be cast aside", Scunthorpe Telegraph, 14 July 2011, retrieved 19 April 2016
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Jones, Edgar (1990), "The Growth of a Business, 1918–1945", A History of GKN, vol. 2, pp. 31–33, 51–54
  11. Burn, Duncan Lyall (1961), The Economic History of Steelmaking 1867–1939 : A study in competition, Cambridge University Press, p.338, footnote
  12. Tolliday, Steven (1987), Business, Banking, and Politics: The Case of British Steel, 1918–1939, p. 133
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "The death of ironmaking at Redbourn: Today marks anniversary of historic day", Scunthorpe Telegraph, 12 October 2015, Retrieved on: Apr. 19, 2016
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Pocock, D.C.D. (1990), Ellis, S.; Crowther, D.R. (eds.), "The Development of Scunthorpe", Humber Perspectives : A region through the ages, pp. 332–344, ISBN 0-85958-484-4
  15. Clay, Rob; Harman, Chris (May 1973), "British Steel in Crisis", International Socialism (58): 15–16, retrieved 16 October 2016
  16. Fisher, Nigel (14 April 2016), "British Steel Scunthorpe pictures of the past as Greybull plans to bring back historic name at Tata steelworks", Scunthorpe Telegraph, Retrieved on: Apr. 19, 2016
  17. A new force in the metals industry – background to the proposed merger (PDF), British Steel / Koninklijke Hoogovens, 7 June 1999, archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2016, Retrieved on: Apr. 19, 2016
  18. "History of Britain's steel industry", The Guardian, 1 February 2001, Retrieved on: Apr. 19, 2016
  19. See Tata Steel Europe
  20. Tata Steel UK agrees sale and purchase agreement for long products Europe business (press release), Tata, 11 April 2016, Retrieved on: Apr. 19, 2016
  21. "How British Steel ended up facing closure - but there is hope". GrimsbyLive. 2019-05-15. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  22. "Our parent company". British Steel. Archived from the original on November 21, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
  23. "British Steel: Takeover by Chinese firm completed". BBC. 2020-03-09. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  24. Simon, Jack (2019-11-13). "Why a Chinese firm really bought British Steel". BBC. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  25. Mills, Kelly-Ann (2021-01-29). "Shocking moment huge explosion and fireball caught on camera at UK steelworks". mirror. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  26. "British Steel workers vote overwhelmingly to continue strike action". Morning Star. 2022-01-14. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Archived from the original on 2022-01-19. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. Archived from the original on 2022-10-19. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. Archived from the original on 2022-10-08. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. Archived from the original on 2021-11-21. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. Archived from the original on 2022-01-17. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Archived from the original on 2022-03-18. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. Archived from the original on 2022-03-05. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-10-23. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. Archived from the original on 2023-02-24. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-03-18. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Archived from the original on 2022-05-19. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 38.5 38.6 38.7 Archived from the original on 2022-11-29. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

Other resources

Wikipedia also has an article on British Steel Scunthorpe plant. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of steel power plants, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Steel Plant Tracker and Global Blast Furnace Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.