CIE visit to Skinningrove past and present

Materials World magazine
20 Aug 2014

On 3 July, the Cleveland Institute of Engineers (CIE) had a joint visit with the Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society (CIAS) to Skinningrove, on the Cleveland coast.

They visited the Ironstone Mining Museum, which is situated at the site of the first ironstone mine in Cleveland opened in 1848 and later one of 80 such mines in the county. Cleveland mines generated a third of England’s iron in Victorian times. The mine was a drift mine, and visitors can walk down the old North Drift to where a network of tunnels (now flooded) used to lead off to where the ironstone was extracted. Exhibits showed the many aspects of life in the mine, including how dark it was, and how blasting was undertaken.

Current activities at Skinningrove centre on Tata Steel’s Special Section Mill perched on the cliffs above the village. The mill specialises in rolling track shoes and cutting edges for earthmoving equipment, sections for fork lift truck masts, and sections for mine shaft lifts. The mill was rolling track shoes whilst the visitors were there. The whole rolling process from reheating billets brought from Scunthorpe, through hot rolling, cooling and cold straightening was observed.

Between the two visits Dr Denis Goldring, well known local Geologist, and mineral resources expert, pointed out the local geology relative to the iron ore deposits on the way to the beach, where members of the party ate a picnic lunch in warm sunshine! An interesting and informative day out for all.

The CIE and CIAS have several members in common, and the CIAS have just published a book about one of the former CIE Presidents, Dr John Edward Stead FRS, a distinguished metallurgist, President of the Iron and Steel Society (1920-21), and winner of the Bessemer Gold Medal. ISBN 978-0-905728-08-7, available via