Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (September 4) formed a Teesworks Heritage Taskforce to capture and celebrate the history of the former Redcar steelworks.
Last month, Mayor Houchen asked former steelworkers and people living across the Tees Valley to submit their ideas on how they want to recognise Teesside’s long and rich iron and steelmaking heritage before demolition work begins.
As part of the on-going consultation into the future of the site, Mayor Houchen has now formed an independent heritage panel made up of local politicians and industrial heritage experts to review the suggestions made and decide on ways to commemorate the site.
The taskforce will be chaired by Redcar MP Jacob Young and will also include Tees steel industry veteran John Baker, North Area Chair of Arts Council England Kate Willard, Teesside steel historian Tosh Warwick and a representative of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
Last month, Mayor Houchen unveiled a £150million programme of demolition work across the Teesworks site – including the Redcar Blast Furnace and Coke Ovens – which could create up to 300 jobs.
Mayor Houchen said: “The former Redcar Steelworks site has been central to Teesside’s worldwide steelmaking reputation spanning 170 years, with many of the world’s most iconic buildings and structures built with our steel – from Sydney Harbour Bridge and Wembley Stadium to London’s Shard and countless other skyscrapers across the globe.
“This industry has played a defining role in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the region across generations, and as we develop the future opportunities at Teesworks, which will play an equally important role for decades to come, we want to make sure our steelmaking legacy is rightfully honoured.
“We have been inundated with ideas, memories and stories of steel in a way that really shows this is a site that people care about – which was backed up by the overwhelming demand we have had for Teesworks tours tickets. So now is the right time to move to the next stage of our consultation and launch this independent panel.
“The Redcar steelworks is such a huge part of our history and even after it is gone, it is something we should be telling our children and grandchildren about. It is therefore only right that the people of Redcar should decide the best way to celebrate it.”
Redcar MP Jacob Young added: “It is an honour to be asked to chair the new Teesworks Heritage Taskforce.
“Having worked in our chemical industry up until last year’s election, our industry is very close to my heart and I know that strength of feeling that is shared across Teesside.
“From start to finish, this is our opportunity to tell the story of Teesside from the ironstone mines of Eston and East Cleveland, to the forged Steel that built the Sydney Harbour Bridge, right up to the second largest blast furnace in Europe at Redcar.
“It is our history of industry, that drives our pride in the area and I’m looking forward to working with the members of the taskforce to secure our industrial heritage while looking ahead to an exciting new chapter for the Teesworks site.
“I know many local people have already taken part in the Teesworks Heritage Consultation, which will inform the taskforce’s recommendations and I want to encourage everyone to have their say.”