The company was founded by Arthur Dorman and Albert de Lande Long when they acquired West Marsh Iron Works in 1875. In the 1920s Dorman Long took over the concerns of Bell Brothers and Bolckow and Vaughan and diversified into the construction of bridges. In 1938 Ellis Hunter took over as Managing Director and he continued to lead the business until 1961.
In 1967 Dorman Long was nationalised, along with 13 other British steel-making firms, becoming subsumed into the government-owned British Steel Corporation. 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.
Iron and steel
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:
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: The number of blast furnaces increases to 100, producing two million TPA.
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.
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, including North Skelton Mine.
1946: Dorman Long purchases 600 acres (2.4 km2) of land between the Redcar and Cleveland Works to build the Lackenby development.
1955: The Dorman Long tower, a combined coal silo, firefighting water tower, and control room, was built on the Teesside steelworks site.
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 tons per year.
1989: Company is privatised becoming British Steel plc.
1990: Merged with The Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, Darlington.
2015: Former Dorman Long Steel plant on Teesside ceased production after SSI mothballed the Redcar works following a global downturn in the price of steel and later announced its UK arm had gone into liquidation.
2021: Cleveland Bridge goes into administration.
The most famous bridge ever constructed by a Teesside company was Dorman Long's Sydney Harbour Bridge of 1932, of similar construction to but, contrary to popular belief, not 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.
List of bridges constructed
The following is a list of some of the bridges built by the Dorman Long: it is not fully comprehensive.
|Omdurman Bridge||White Nile, Sudan||1926||2,012||613||7 fixed spans, one swing span, 3,700 tons|||
|Desouk Bridge||Lower Nile, Egypt||1927||2,010||610||10 spans including 194 feet (59 m) swing span, 3,800 tons|||
|Tyne Bridge||Newcastle, England||1928||1,254||382||Approximately 8,000 tons, (Road)|||
|Alfred Beit Bridge||South Africa||1929||1,515||462||1,876 tons|||
|Sydney Harbour Bridge||Sydney, Australia||1932||3,770||1,150||Total weight of fabricated steelwork 51,000, weight of steel in the arch 38,000 tons|||
|Grafton Bridge||Grafton, NSW, Australia||1932||1,309||399||It is a dual level road and rail Bascule Bridge, the upper deck carrying a roadway and the lower level carrying the rail line and foot bridge.|||
|Lambeth Bridge||London, England||1932||776||237||5 spans, 4,620 tons, (Road)|||
|Memorial Bridge, Bangkok||Thailand||1932||755||230||1,100 tons, (Road)|||
|Khedive Ismail Bridge||Cairo, Egypt||1933||1,250||380||3,000 tons|||
|Newport bridge||Middlesbrough||1934||270||82||The central lifting span 66 feet (20 m) wide, weighing 5,400 long tons (5,500 t); the towers are 182 feet (55 m) high. The total weight is 8,000 tons.|||
|Birchenough Bridge||Zimbabwe||1935||1,242 tons.|||
|Storstrøm Bridge||Denmark||1937||10,535||3,211||21,000 tons, (Railway and Road)|||
|Chien Tang River Bridge||China||1937||3,480||1,060||16 equal spans, 4,135 tons, (Railway and Road)|||
|Adomi Bridge (originally Volta Bridge)||Atimpoku, Ghana||1957||1,096||334||arch bridge with roadway suspended from arch|||
|Silver Jubilee Bridge||Runcorn and Widnes, England||1961||1,582||482||Road|||
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 died in the Boer War. Amongst the museum's exhibits is a collection of ceramics from the local Linthorpe Pottery, which was known for its iridescent glazes which, at the time, were not produced anywhere else in Europe.
Dorman Long Tower
The Dorman Long tower was built from 1955-56 as a coking plant for steel production. The tower was an early example of brutalist architecture. It was scheduled to be demolished in 2021 due its poor state of repair and granted Grade II listed status, in an emergency listing by Historic England on 10 September 2021. The emergency listing cited its significance as a "recognised and celebrated example of early Brutalist architecture", a "nationally unique surviving structure from the twentieth-century coal, iron and steel industries" as well as "for its association with, and an advert for, Dorman Long which dominated the steel and heavy engineering industry of Teesside".
In one of her first acts as Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries revoked the listing – amidst accusations of "cultural vandalism" – enabling demolition of the building to be scheduled. The tower was demolished between 00:00 and 00:20 on 19 September 2021 in a series of controlled explosions.
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- Structurae database
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