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The 1974 Plaque

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This is a replica of the plaque produced to celebrate the centenary of Skinningrove iron and steel works in 1974. The original plaque now stands near the offices at Tata Skinningrove. The pattern for the plaque was designed and carved by Cec Gorman who was chief pattern maker at the British Steel Corporation’s Skinningrove works at that time.

Working from memory, images and advice from colleagues, Cec prepared drawings that traced the history of the works and related local ironstone mining from their beginnings to 1974. The pattern he produced was used to create a mould from which the plaque was cast; it finally measured about two metres in length.

It is a work of real historical interest and merits close scrutiny. I think Cec Gorman took great care to represent the local works and mining industry as concisely and accurately as possible.

The original template belongs to Cec’s wife, Betty Gorman who loaned it to Skinningrove History Group to use it to some benefit. Betty expressed a wish for a replica to be located at Doorstep Green.

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Unveiling the Replica

Wednesday 14th May was a sunny day in Skinningrove for the unveiling of a replica of Skinningrove Work’s centenary plaque by Betty Gorman. The centenary of Skinningrove Iron and Steel Works was celebrated in 1974 and the original plaque stands near the offices at Tata Steel’s Skinningrove site. The pattern for the plaque was designed and carved by Betty’s husband Cec, who was chief pattern maker at British Steel Corporation’s Skinningrove Works at that time.

Working from memory, images and comments from colleagues, Cec prepared a design that traced the history of the works and local ironstone mining from their beginnings to 1974. He took great care to represent the industries as concisely and accurately as possible and the last work resembles a tapestry with a connecting narrative. The pattern belongs to Betty who loaned it to Skinningrove History Group. Betty expressed a wish for a replica to be placed at Doorstep Green and she was delighted to unveil it there after being welcomed by Stan Binks, Chair of the history group. The ceremony was attended by Councillor Barry Hunt, Mayor of Loftus Town Council and borough councillor, and by other guests associated with the project.

Thanks are due to Skinningrove Link-Up for permission to install the plinth and to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council for granting planning permission. Skinningrove History Group secured funding for this project which is supported in partnership by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas, LEADER, Groundwork and The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. Work on the project was undertaken by Robinson Engineering, Thurston Printers and Signs & Plastic Products Ltd.

Doorstep Green is alongside the main road in Skinningrove; the plinth on which the replica sits also houses an information panel. Funding for the project also enabled the history group to produce a leaflet ‘Welcome to Skinningrove and its Heritage Attractions’. This free leaflet shows where you can see features of interest that have been placed throughout the village in recent years. Copies are available at local libraries and other outlets in the area.