Historical Background Iron and steel industries began to develop along the south bank of the River Tees between Middlesbrough and Redcar in the 19 th century because all of the raw materials and fuel supplies were available locally – iron ore from the Cleveland Hills, coking coal from the Durham coalfield and limestone from the East Durham plateau. The iron ore, coal and limestone weighed a lot more than the iron and steel products that came out of the furnaces. Transport was not as well developed as it is today. A location near to raw materials made more economic sense than one near the market, although large markets for iron and steel in the engineering works and shipyards which lined the banks of the rivers Tyne and Wear were not far away.
Steel Making on Teesside in the 1990’s From these early advantages for steel-making, only the supply of limestone exists. The coalmines and shipyards have all closed. However Corus (British Steel) recognises that Teesside has many locational advantages for a modern steelworks, which is why it has made massive capital investment in new plant and machinery.
Transport: The Tees estuary is wide sheltered and deep. Large ships can bring iron ore from countries such as Brazil, Australia or Liberia directly to the steelworks. The steelworks has its own terminal in grid squares 5425/5525, Teesside is ideally positioned on the eat coast of England for exports to Europe and other overseas markets. A railway line runs next to the works for distribution to other parts of the UK. The long history of steel making means that a labour supply with the necessary skills and experience exits. Site Factors: There is an abundance of little-used flat land. Land on either side of an estuary has few uses and is therefore very cheap to purchase in large amounts. Ideal for heavy industry. Chemical industries have located in the area. ICI at Billingham is located just off the western edge of the map. Oil storage tanks have been constructed on the north bank of the Tees to store crude oil from the North Sea. Supertankers can use the Tees estuary.
Acknowledgements Photograph on Slide 2 from http://www.freefoto.com/images/13/53/13_53_18_prev.jpg