Dorman Long

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Dorman Long
Type Private
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1875
Headquarters Northamptonshire, UK
Key people David Dyer (Managing Director)
Products Bridges, Heavy lifting equipment
Website www.dormanlongtechnology.com

Dorman Long is an engineering consultancy and equipment manufacturer for the construction of long span bridges, power stations, refineries, offshore structures, stadia and other large building structures. Originally based in Middlesbrough, North East England, the company was a major steel producer later diversifying into bridge building. Dorman Long was once listed on the London Stock Exchange.

History[edit]

The company was founded by Arthur Dorman and Albert de Lande Long when they acquired West Marsh Iron Works in 1875.[1] In the 1920s Dorman Long took over the concerns of Bell Brothers and Bolckow and Vaughan and diversified into the construction of bridges.[2] In 1938 Ellis Hunter took over as Managing Director and he continued to lead the business until 1961.[3]

Tyne Bridge

In 1967 Dorman Long was nationalised, along with 13 other British steel-making firms, becoming subsumed into the government-owned company British Steel. In 1982 Redpath Dorman Long, the engineering part of the business, was acquired by Trafalgar House who in 1990 merged it into Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company in Darlington.[4]

In 2000 there was a management buyout of Cleveland Bridge which led to the formation of Dorman Long Technology (DLT) in August 2000. DLT was formed as an amalgamation of the Cleveland Bridge engineering office with an outside construction consultant (Lowther-Rolton) and a heavy lift contractor (Zalcon), both of whom had been working closely with Cleveland Bridge throughout the 1990s. DLT is now an independent company, registered in the UK, carrying out bridge design and construction engineering together with design and supply of heavy lifting equipment for the construction of bridges, refineries, power stations, wind farms, offshore drilling rigs, large roofs and other large pre-assembled structures.[5]

Iron and Steel[edit]

Iron-making has been known in Cleveland since the Romans found iron slags in North Yorkshire, with small-scale iron-making known to have taken place at Rievaulx and Whitby Abbeys and at Gisborough Priory in the 17th century.

Some of the key events connected with iron-making in Cleveland:

1837: The first Cleveland ironstone mine opens, at Grosmont, for the Losh, Wilson and Bell ironworks.

1841: Bolckow and Vaughan open the first ironworks in Middlesbrough.

1850: 8 June - The Discovery of the Cleveland Main Seam of Ironstone at Eston by Ironmaster John Vaughan and mining engineer John Marley both of Bolckow & Vaughan. The Cleveland iron rush begins.

1855: 30 blast furnaces operate within six miles (10 km) of Middlesbrough.

1865: One million tonnes per annum (TPA) of iron are produced to make the area one of the world's major centres of iron production.

1875: Number of blast furnaces increases to 100, producing two million TPA.

1879: Sidney Gilchrist Thomas arrives in Cleveland and introduces the first commercial steel.

1901: Partial amalgamation of Bell companies with Dorman Long.

1902: The first integrated steelworks, involving conversion of iron ore to finished rolled steel shapes, is built at Cargo Fleet.

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House

1917: The Redcar steel plant is opened, making steel in the 'open hearth' process.

1918: Cleveland Works opens.

1924: Dorman Long wins the contract to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

1928-9: Dorman Long takes over residues of Bell and Bolckow Vaughan.

1946: Dorman Long purchases 600 acres (2.4 km2) of land between the Redcar and Cleveland Works to build the Lackenby development.

1967: Dorman Long, South Durham Steel Iron Co, and Stewarts and Lloyds come together to create British Steel and Tube Ltd.

1967: The steel industry is nationalised and the British Steel Corporation is born.

1973: The existing Redcar Ironworks site development begins.

1979: The number of blast furnaces drops to one - producing 3.3 million TPA.

1989: Company is privatised becoming British Steel plc.

1990: Merged with The Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, Darlington.

1999: British Steel merges with the Dutch steel and aluminium company Koninklijke Hoogovens to become Corus Group.

2000: Dorman Long Technology Ltd formed as an independent company as part of a management buy out of Cleveland Bridge in August 2000.

Bridge Building[edit]

The most famous bridge ever constructed by a Teesside company was Dorman Long's Sydney Harbour Bridge of 1932, of similar construction to but not (contrary to popular belief) modelled on the 1928 Tyne Bridge, a construction regarded as the symbol of Tyneside's Geordie pride, but also a product of Dorman Long's Teesside workmanship. The greatest example of Dorman Long's work in Teesside itself is the single span Newport Lifting Bridge (a Grade II Listed Building). Opened by the Duke of York in February 1934 it was England's first vertical lift bridge. With a lifting span of 270 feet (82 m) long by 66 feet (20 m) wide, it is constructed from 8000 tons of Teesside steel and 28,000 tons of concrete with towers 182 feet (55 m) high. The electrically operated lifting mechanism allowed the road to be lifted 100 feet (30 m) in one and a half minutes by means of ropes passing through sheaves in the four corner towers. Newport Bridge is no longer raised or lowered; it is a permanent road crossing the river Tees.


The following is a list of some of the bridges built by the Dorman Long: it is not fully comprehensive.

Bridge Location Year Notes
Omdurman Bridge White Nile, Sudan 1926 Total length 2,012 feet (613 m), 7 fixed spans, one swing span, 3700 tons
Desouk Bridge Lower Nile, Egypt 1927 Total length 2,010 feet (610 m), 10 spans including 194 feet (59 m) swing span, 3800 tons
Tyne Bridge Newcastle, England 1928 Total length 1,254 feet (382 m), approximately 8,000 tons, (Road)
Alfred Beit Bridge South Africa 1929 Total length 1,515 feet (462 m), 1876 tons
Sydney Harbour Bridge Sydney, Australia 1932 Total length 3,770 feet (1,150 m), total weight of fabricated steelwork 51000, weight of steel in the arch 38000 tons
Grafton Bridge Grafton, NSW, Australia 1932 Total length 1,309 feet (399 m), (Road and Rail) It is a dual level Bascule Bridge, the upper deck carrying a roadway and the lower level carrying the rail line and foot bridge.
Lambeth Bridge London, England 1932 Total length 776 ft (237 m), 5 spans, 4620 tons,(Road)
Memorial Bridge, Bangkok Thailand 1932 Total length 755 feet (230 m), 1100 tons, (Road)
Khedive Ismail Bridge Cairo, Egypt 1933 Total length 1,250 feet (380 m), 3000 tons
Newport bridge Middlesbrough 1934 The central lifting span is 270 feet (82m) long and 66 feet (20m) wide, weighing 5400 tons (6993 metric tonnes); the towers are 182 feet (55m) high. The total weight is 8,000 tons.
Birchenough Bridge Zimbabwe 1935 1242 tons.
Storstrøm Bridge Denmark 1937 Total length 10,535 feet (3,211 m), 21000 tons, (Railways)
Chien Tang River Bridge China 1937 Total length 3,840 feet (1,170 m), 16 equal spans, 4135 tons, (Railway and Road)
Silver Jubilee Bridge Runcorn and Widnes, England 1961 Total length 1,582 feet (482 m), (Road)

Dorman Museum[edit]

In 1904 Sir Arthur Dorman of Dorman Long gave the Dorman Museum to Middlesbrough in honour of his youngest son, George Lockwood Dorman, an avid collector who was killed in the Boer War. Amongst the museum’s many exhibits, is a collection of ceramics from the local Linthorpe Pottery,[6] which was renowned for its iridescent glazes, that at the time were not produced anywhere else in Europe. The museum has one of the largest collections of these highly distinctive ceramics in the world.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ North East England History Pages
  2. ^ Tolliday, Steven (1987). Business, Banking, and Politics: The Case of British Steel, 1918-1939. Harvard University Press. pp. 47–48. 
  3. ^ Scale and scope: the dynamics of industrial capitalism By Alfred Dupont Chandler, Takashi Hikino, p. 329
  4. ^ Cleveland Bridge history
  5. ^ Dorman Long Technology
  6. ^ Linthorpe pottery

External links[edit]