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Industry

The developing railways, the boom in ship building and the need for weapons of war provided many opportunities for industry on the River Tyne.

The Lemington Iron Works was built in 1797 and by 1801 was very prosperous. In 1869 John Spencer from Newburn Steel Works took over and renamed it the Haematite Iron Company. In 1903 the Newcastle and District Lighting Company built a power station on the site of the Iron Works.

Newburn Steel Works circa 1920

The picture shows the Newburn Steel Works in their heyday in 1920. (Pic - BYGONE Newburn, A.D. Walton)

The Lemington Power Station ceased generating in 1919 and became a substation supplying electricity to the local tramway until its closure in 1946. In 1822 Mr. John Spencer opened the Newburn Steel Works which used a water driven corn mill converted to file grinding. The works concentrated on making springs for the railway industry. By the turn of the century, when shipbuilding was booming on the Tyne, the company became one of the most advanced steel works in the country. In 1904 it produced the steel plate for the Mauretania, the most famous liner ever built on Tyneside.

The company declined during the after the First World War and the rolling mills were demolished during the 1930ís. However, the works continued as John Spencer and Sons producing railway axles and springs, then gun springs and barrels during World War Two. The firm closed in the 1960s but some buildings still survive to remind us of how this huge industrial complex once dominated the life and landscape of the ancient village of Newburn.

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