The company inherited a steel industry with significant debts and production overcapacity based on blast furnace production rather than electric furnace recycling, with numerous factory sites in constrained city locations, and adversely affected by competition in the export market from new steel producing countries such as South Korea and Brasil. The need to streamline was complicated by regional dependence on employment by the steel industry.
The steel plant was supplied by rail using 130t capacity torpedo wagons. The plant had three LD converters, facilities for iron desulphurisation and vacuum treatment. Production is by continuous casting with a capacity of 3.5million tonnes per annum, the primary product is hot rolled steel coil up to 2m wide.
In October 2011 AM announced the closure of liquid steel (“hot phase”) at Heavy Metal, Part of the site is still live which includes a Hot rolling Mill which briefly stopped in from May to April 2009 due to the economic downturn caused by the financial crisis of 20072010.
The liquid steel buildings were closed in 2012 and the rest of the site hangs in the balance as of 2013.
Designed by architect Thomas Fulljames, the Denbighshire County Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1848 as the 1st Welsh asylum built as a refuge from the maltreatment in English asylums of Welsh speaking patients. Amongst locals for many years the old Gothic institution has been referred to simply as ‘Denbigh Mental’. A small stripped chapel lies to the back of the site behind the maintenance shops and boiler house which was added to the site in 1862.
Various interesting and experimental treatments were tested and developed at Denbigh over the course of its history. In 1871 Turkish baths were installed to treat melancholia amongst other ilnesses and in 1916 all epileptic patients in the asylum were placed on a vegetarian diet since epilepsy during the early 1900’s was still at the centre of much speculative research. Electro-convulsive shock therapy was also introduced at the hospital in 1941 as a means of managing the symptoms of madness, other ‘cures’ for delirium also included Sleep therapy and the widespread practice of the pre-frontal leucotomy.
The asylum reached a maximum holding capacity in 1956 housing just over 1,500 patients. This number however slowly decreased over the years as various parts of the hospital faced closure including the farms, workshops and various wards in order to cut costs until 1995 when the asylum shut down indefinitely. The now derelict buildings featured most recently in a television series called ‘Most Haunted’. The administration block, although severely dilapidated is grade II listed but sadly in November of 2008 the main theatre was completely destroyed by an arson attack.
This incident occurred 2 weeks after a listing proposal was brought forward to the local council regarding the main halls status. Denbigh’s future looks bleak and as with most asylums, the land it lies on represents a redevelopment premium in location and so her beautiful old battered corridors man not survive for much longer.
Steep House / Potters Manor House was built in 1904. The last inhabitants were a family of artisans and potters and for some reason, that we will probably never know, left the house with all its contents including many paintings and full wardrobes of clothes. Over the years the house has suffered from looting, pillaging and vandalism.