WW2 – Corby Steel

Corby steel workers played a pivotal role during the 2nd World War. When Europe was invaded by the Axis Powers, the steel workers of Corby helped to develop the under the ocean pipeline (also known as PLUTO).


These Pipe-Lines Under The Ocean, which some would say played an integral role in the allied forces’ eventual victory, allowed for the transportation of oil between England & France. This allowed vehicles to remain refuelled & in preparation for battle, particularly after D Day.

The steel workers in Corby provided the basic steel pipe, which was subsequently modified by professionals elsewhere in the country.

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Steel – 10 Facts

Steel is one of the most popular materials in contemporary constructions. However, despite its commonplace usage, there is much information about the metal that isn’t known.

Below are 10 interesting facts about steel.

  • Steel components are 30% stronger than they were ten years ago
  • Steel goods can be continuously recycled without any loss of strength
  • 75% of major appliances are made of steel
  • Steel was utilised in the construction of skyscrapers from 1883
  • Doors made of steel are fireproofed
  • Half of the steel types used in modern vehicles did not exist a decade ago
  • 600 steel & tin cans are recycled in America every minute
  • Refrigerator steel hinges can support over 140 pounds of door
  • The Golden gate bridge was built from over 83,000 tonnes of steel
  • Over 1,500 food items are provided in steel cans
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Men of Corby – Film

Year: 1961

Directed by: Philip Donnellan

Starring: John Rogerson & other Corby residents

A documentary produced on & featuring the prosperous iron & steel making trade within Corby & its workers. The film focuses upon how the industry transformed Corby from a men_of_corby_01small village to a bustling town that attracted males in need of work from places as far as Poland.

The documentary, which is now difficult to find, featured the voices of the workers of the Corby steel-mills, whom were mainly Scottish migrants. The steel workers discuss their aspirations, lives & love for poet Robbie Burns.

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Steel – History

Iron – an element

Steel – an alloy

Metal – anything metallic

The first evidence of steel use is traced to the beginnings of the Iron Age, 4000 years ago. The Iron Age, named such due to its peoples’ usage of iron, saw a number of comprehensive changes in culture, including in art, religion & construction. The material of steel, which was discovered to be more durable & stronger than bronze, began to be used in lieu of the antiquated metal.

However, for the first few thousand years of usage of the material, the quality of the iron would depend upon the ores utilised & the method of production. The benefits & detriments of the metal were understood but a lack of alternative left no choice but to include it in structures.

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That was until the 1800s, in which the majority of iron was bring used in the construction of railroads. A less frail alternative to the material was sought by metallurgists. This was discovered in 1856, when inventor Henry Bessemer developed a method to reduce carbon in content, thereby kick starting the steel industry as is recognised today.

The Bessemer Process involved iron being placed into a pear shaped receptacle & heated, whilst oxygen is blown through it. This process cause the metal to release carbon dioxide & produce a purer iron than had previously been achieved.

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The Great Jib – Corby Steel

Post-war, the Corby steel company of Stewarts & Llyods commissioned the building of the ‘Great Jib’. The ‘Jib’, which was a revolutionary invention, was completed in 1951. It was the world’s largest dragline excavator.

Dragline Excavator

 The dragline excavator is a piece of equipment that is utilised in both civil engineering & surface mining

The building of the massive excavator – which aided with iron ore mining considerably – showcases the ambition of the Corby steel-works. It is also representative of the financial successes & engineering capabilities of the locale.

The town reaped the benefits of the machine as the town entered a new financial prosperity. Extensive building & migration bolstered the already impressive reputation of Corby.

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