Testing Steel at Lanarkshire Steel Works by Frank Waugh

LightningVolt Iron Ore Pellets This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license.

LightningVolt Iron Ore Pellets  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license.

Frank started work at the age of 14 in 1957 at Lanarkshire Steel Works (Colvilles). His Uncle worked there and Frank was spoken for so he could get a job there. he worked a Monday to Friday week but when he truned 16 he started shift work. There were three shift patterns:-

Week 1- Monday to Friday- Day shift  6 a.m.- 2 p.m
Week 2- Sunday- Friday -Night shift 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Week 3- Monday to Friday- Back Shift  2 p.m. – 10 p.m.
and then repeat.

Frank’s job was in the testing department. Each day they received samples off the steel plates. They had to test how it bent and how it stretched. Mild Steel was used for ship plates and Brazil Steel was very hard and with little stretch. the company had a number of contracts with shipyards. Thousands of men worked at the steelworks and it had its own ambulance station. One of Frank’s other jobs was as an ambulance driver.  Health and Safety was important , for example there was a designated path through the plate mill marked by a pair of yellow lines. Crossing those lines while passing through the area was a reason for instant dismissal. Frank wore a helmet, leather gloves and steel-toed footwear. He only left the testing section to collect samples. Even so accidents were a part of the working life at the works, some of them fatal.

The steel process involved steel ingots of approximately 3 foot square by 7 foot being sent through a mangle and lain on a rolling mill. The steel was rolled thin to 1 1/2 ” – 3″ thick. cranes with magnetic left moved the steel around the workplace. Steel was also recycled from scrapyards.

Memory contributed by Frank Waugh, Keith

Additional information

Lanarkshire Steel Works memories websiteLanarkshire Steelworks- memories website 
BBC Bitesize- Introduction to Steel – describes how steel is made from molten iron.
History of the British Steel Industry


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