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Derwentcote Steel Furnace

Durham

Iron / Steel / Shipbuilding

Built in the 1720s, Derwentcote is the earliest and most complete steel-making furnace in Britain. It produced high-grade steel for making springs and cutting tools through the cementation process. This converted wrought iron into steel.

In the early 18th century, the Derwent Valley was the centre of the British steel industry because it had all the natural resources needed for the cementation process. These included plentiful supplies of charcoal, coal, clay and sandstone, plus easy access to the North Sea for imported iron.

Derwentcote Steel Furnace went out of use by 1891 and subsequently fell into disrepair until it was restored by English Heritage in 1990.

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