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Published by membersonly, 2018-07-03 15:48:56

A V Dawson Tour Brochure 2018

A V Dawson




Historical Notes with thanks to Geoff Blyth

The AV Dawson site occupies part of an area known as the Ironmasters' District, which once contained a
vast array of iron and steel works and allied industries. This can be seen clearly on this map, which dates
from a century ago.

MAPS: The map above is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland In 1829 Middlesbrough was a somewhat bleak and marshy farmstead
with a population of 40 when a group of Quaker businessmen, the Owners of the Middlesbrough Estate
(OME), bought the associated 527 acre estate and established the Middlesbrough Estate Company, the
first house being built in April 1830. The Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) line from Stockton
(Bowesfield Jn) to 'Port Darlington' opened on 27 Dec 1830. The town gradually developed as the coal
trade increased and more shipping facilities were built. With the opening of Middlesbrough Dock (east of
the present station) in 1841, an iron foundry and rolling mill were established nearby in Vulcan St. The
discovery in June 1850 of ironstone in the Eston Hills, south of the Middlesbrough – Redcar line,
transformed the fortunes of the town. Expansion of the railway network had greatly increased the
demand for iron, such that production of pig iron in the area rose tenfold between 1851, when the first
blast furnace was constructed, and 1856. In order to provide for further development, in about 1860 the
OME purchased the land, almost entirely desolate marshland, to the west of the railway. The area
developed rapidly as more iron works were opened, until the entire area was occupied by works and
railways, with just one road snaking through it. Owing to this the area, which was essentially complete by
1892, came to be known as the Ironmasters' District, named after the men who owned these works. By
this time, there were over 40 blast furnaces around Middlesbrough, producing half-a-million tons of pig-
iron a year.

The railways were built without Acts of Parliament as all the land was owned privately, by either the
individual works or the OME, so there is no record of opening dates. The OME had an extensive network
round Middlesbrough, which was absorbed by the North Eastern Railway (NER) under an Act of 1884.
Four main lines served the Ironmasters' District:

 The NER Old Town Branch, the original S&DR line of 1830 from Old Town Jn.
 The Marsh Branch from Marsh Branch Jn (which was controlled by Old Town SB) heading roughly

north towards the northern tip of the peninsula
 The Marsh Branch & Old Town Branch Loop, which curved through 180o and linked the two

branches above
 The West Marsh Branch, running west from the Marsh Branch

North of Goods Yard SB, the Old Town Branch split into five routes. The two middle routes, to Acklam
Iron Works and Linthorpe Iron Works, climbed so as to cross Forty Foot Road by means of a low
overbridge, whereas the other routes crossed the road on the level. The road dipped under this
overbridge, leading to frequent flooding – a source of many disputes with the town council.

Not all of the many works are listed here but, from west to east, the major ones were as follows:
 Newport Iron Works: western portion built in 1863 and extended several times, and the eastern
built in 1870
 West Marsh Iron Works: date of construction not known, but the works was defunct when it was
taken over by Arthur Dorman and Albert de Lande Long, who founded Dorman Long & Co (which
became the dominant iron and steel company on Teesside) in 1875. Probably closed before 1900
 Britannia Iron & Steel Works: built in 1871 to manufacture iron rails. This was the largest works in
the area
 Ayresome Iron Works: built in 1870
 North Eastern Steel Works: built in 1883 for the manufacture of basic Bessemer steel by the
Thomas-Gilchrist process

 Acklam Iron Works: production started in December 1865 and the works closed in 1957, when
new blast furnaces were commissioned at Cleveland Works at South Bank

 Ayrton Rolling Mills: built in 1870 and comprising a plate mill, closed in 1985, and a sheet (light
plate) mill, closed in 1968. These closures were the result of the work being moved to Lackenby.
On closure in 1985, the site was purchased by AV Dawson

 Linthorpe Iron Works: built in 1864

W6 Early 20th century


RIVER TEES R1 R2 Depot Road R6
B3 R4 R5
Forty Foot Road
Forty Foot RdW8
W3 W9
W2 W4

B1 Schematic diagram, not to scale

J4 R3



J2 NER lines W1
LOCATIONS Private industrial lines
W1 NER Branch Lines Industrial sites
Level crossings

B1 West Marsh Branch J1 Newport East Jn
B2 Marsh Branch
J2 Marsh Branch Jn
B3 Marsh Branch & Old Town Branch Loop J3 Old Town Jn
J4 Goods Yard SB
Major Industrial Sites

W1 Newport Iron Works Other Railway Locations

J1 W2 Cleveland Wire Mills R1 Acklam Mineral Sidings
W3 Britannia Iron & Steel Works R2 Acklam Bank Head
W4 West Marsh Iron Works R3 Middlesbrough Goods Depot
W5 Cleveland Slag & Concrete Works R4 Stockton St Goods
W6 Ayresome Iron Works R5 First passenger station
W7 Newport Wire Works R6 Commercial St (2nd passenger station)
W8 Ayrton Rolling Mills R7 Metz Bridge
W9 Acklam Foundry
W10 North East Steel Works
W11 Acklam Iron Works
W12 Linthorpe Iron Works

This schematic map on the previous page is thanks to Dave Cromarty and shows the situation in the early
20th century. It does not attempt to show every line but gives an indication of the private networks. The
ownership boundaries between the NER and the private systems are not known precisely.

By the late 1860s there were about 100 blast furnaces in the Middlesbrough area and it had become the
largest iron manufacturing centre in the country, producing a third of the UK output. From the 1950s
onwards the works in this area started to close as the work was gradually moved to more modern plants
at firstly Cleveland works, South Bank, and later to Lackenby. Goods Yard SB closed on about 9 October
1966. Old Town SB followed on 26 November 1967, when Tees SB assumed control. Marsh Branch Jn may
have been abolished at this time; certainly, regular traffic had ceased by October 1970. The Marsh Branch
south of the West Marsh Branch had been lifted by May 1974. Old Town Jn itself was abolished on 15
May 1977 and the single line to Newport East Jn commissioned. By the early 1970s only Britannia Works
and Ayrton Rolling Mills appear to have been still functioning. The last surviving concern served by the
Marsh branch was Redpath Dorman Long, who received steel for fabrication. Following their closure on
18 July 1984 the branch had been lifted west of Forty Foot Road by August 1985.

A V Dawson

The company moved its activities from Lloyd St, near the present Cobra Railfreight terminal, to Dent's
Wharf in 1973. Dent's Wharf, renamed from Watson's Wharf in 1897, was the terminus of the original
S&DR branch. Following the closure of Ayrton Rolling Mills in 1985, AV Dawson purchased the site and
established its first rail terminal. It now has a rail network of over 10km. The Ayrton Terminal contains rail
connected warehouses and a bottom discharge rail pit. The Tees Riverside Intermodal Park (TRIP) handles
containers and ISO Tanks. The principal rail flows at present include:

 Steel coil from Tata Port Talbot to the Automotive Terminal three times a week. This is forwarded
by road to the Nissan car plant at Sunderland and other customers in the automotive supply chain
in the North East.

 Potash from the Cleveland Potash Boulby mine to the Ayrton Railfreight Terminal twice a day,
where it is unloaded through bottom discharge into a rail pit, and forwarded by road to various UK

 Ground-granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) brought in by road from Tarmac at Teesport, loaded
by means of a digger truck and taken by rail to Leeds Hunslet once a week.

 Aggregate brought in for Sirius Minerals and forwarded by road to their sites near Whitby for
construction of the new Woodsmith polyhalite mine. The first train arrived from Thrislington on 10
March 2017 but there is no further requirement at present.

 New traffic comprising tar in intermodal tanks to TRIP, for onward delivery by road to Koppers
Speciality Chemicals at Port Clarence. This has now grown to require block trains from Port Talbot.

 New traffic due to start in September 2018, discharging vessels of imported gypsum for 'blue-chip'
manufacturer, British Gypsum (at Hotchley Hill, East Leake with GBRf), for reloading to rail under
AV Dawson's new £1M rail canopy which is currently in construction.

The road salt traffic from Boulby mine to the Cobra terminal is not operated by A V Dawson, who
however have a 99-year lease on Middlesbrough Goods Yard from Network Rail.

A V Dawson and Cobra Railfreight Stocklist

Number Builder Built Status Name / Notes
08598 Derby 1959 Operational.
08600 Derby 1959 Operational 'ARTHUR VERNON DAWSON'.
08774 Derby 1960 Operational
08912 Horwich 1962 Dismantled 'ELEANOR DAWSON'
7900 RSHN 1958 Plinthed 'MOLLY”'
2725 Bg/DC 1963 Plinthed 11
786968 Pressed Steel 1962 Operational 15 / H006
3994/D1296. EE/VF 1970 Stored
6294 Hunslet 1966 Stored 'ELIZABETH' / 01567
276V Thomas Hill 1977 Operational

Walking Route to A V Dawson

Please allow fifteen minutes walking time, especially if the weather is warm.

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