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.
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.
Lillesden School for Girls occupies what used to be the Lillesden Estate Mansion, built at the estate (south of Hawkhurst) by the banker Edward Loyd, who co-founded the Loyd Entwistle & Co bank, which later became the District Bank and ultimately the National Westminster (Natwest). Loyd had Lillesden Mansion built after he married Caroline Louisa Foster on the 12th March 1846 at Ashton-on-Mersey. He bought the Lillesden estate at Hawkhurst, Kent in 1853 and built the mansion, finished in 1855.
Regarded as the most austere women’s orders of the Roman Catholic church, being devoted to prayer, penance, contemplation, manual work and adopting the strictest enclosure, severe fasts, and other austerities it also meant that they would never leave the convent once they have taken their vows to enter their days would be spent in prayer and working the land in order to provide for them selves a total life of silence and solitude with no contact with the outside world.