New research on Teesside’s steel history is to be presented across the Atlantic Ocean.

The deindustrialisation, demolition and approaches to heritage at the former Teesside Steelworks is being explored as part of the international ‘The Politics of Industrial Closure’ conference by DePOT (Deindustrialization and Politics of Our Time) Partnership Project bringing together researchers from across the globe.

Spanning a week of workshops, conferences and tours, the conference takes place at Cape Breton and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

It focuses primarily on mine, mill and factory closures, the wider restructuring of labour, as well as the societal debates about the nature of economic change and loss.

The event includes presentations on efforts to save steelworks across the globe, transitions to new industries, transnational industrial heritage projects and a walking tour of the former Sydney Steel Mill site.

The presentation on Teesside’s steel history by University of Sheffield academic and Heritage Unlocked consultant Dr Tosh Warwick draws on research and collaborative work with Teesside Archives and Tees Valley Combined Authority.

It features archival records charting the historic development of the iron and steel industries, Historic England documentation and media coverage on the controversial demolition of the Dorman Long Tower coal bunker at South Bank and ongoing work with Teesside Archives to save steelworks records and make these accessible alongside newly-recorded oral histories.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Dorman Long Tower coal bunker pictured in the 1950s The Dorman Long Tower coal bunker pictured in the 1950s (Image: BRITISH STEEL COLLECTION/TEESSIDE ARCHIVES)

The Middlesbrough-born historian, who grew up in South Bank and had family members who worked in the steel industry, said: “The visit to provides an excellent opportunity to share Teesside’s steel history and the ongoing work with Teesside Archives with international experts gathered in a place that, like Teesside, has experienced huge loss with the closure and demolition of steelworks that has resulted in major economic and cultural challenges.

“Learning from international experiences of deindustrialisation, closures and community responses to these significant changes provides an opportunity to learn from approaches, successes and failures in industrial history and heritage from across the globe and will help better develop approaches to industrial heritage, loss and regeneration in Teesside.

"By drawing on feedback from world-leading experts and emerging researchers and learning from visits to important industrial heritage sites such as Sydney’s former steelworks site, I hope the connections made and experience gained will help inform new connections with arts, culture and heritage sectors and local policy makers to help identify opportunities for heritage-led regeneration, wider community benefits and new heritage and cultural activity.”

More information on DePOT and the event can be found at