Former Round Oak workers get sneak peak of new steelworks monument

Former employees of Brierley Hill’s famous Round Oak Steelworks have visited a Black Country fabrication workshop where a new monument is being made to remember their old colleagues and workplace which closed its gates some 40 years ago.

The main structure of the monumen is being made from Corten Steel – the same metal used for the iconic Angel of the North. Various other design elements, such as chunky steel rivets and side pivots have also been incorporated into the final design to help represent a ladle pouring molten steel.

Now nearing completion thanks to the skill and craftsmanship of Cradley Heath based fabricator, Vince Thompson, the monument will soon be installed near a row of shops on the Dudley Road in Brierley Hill which sit just opposite the site of the former steelworks.

In this location it will stand more than 4 metres tall and act as a lasting reminder of the historic significance of Round Oak Steelworks.

Former Round Oak workers Mike Horton and John Timmins joined Brierley Hill councillors Adam Davies and Wayne Little, and Frank Chamberlain from Brierley Hill Cultural Consortium for a glimpse of the long-awaited monument. Mr Horton, who worked at Round Oak for more than 24 years, said:

“We had some great times and met some great people at Round Oak, so it was a very sad time when it closed. But this monument will help those memories live on and be a fitting reminder of all those who worked there.

“This recognition has been a long time coming, so I’d like to thank everyone who has played a part in making it happen. Especially Vince the fabricator who we have met today – it’s so good to see the work go to a local chap, and to see how much he enjoys what he does.”

Councillor Adam Davies said how pleased he is that Round Oak and those who worked there will finally be recognised by an official landmark in the town. He added:

“Round Oak Steelworks was a huge employer for our area and, in many ways, it helped shape Brierley Hill and the lives of tens of thousands of local people for more than a century. That’s why it is so important that we remember Round Oak and all those who worked there.

"This monument will help us do that and I really want to thank Vince for giving his passion and ideas to this project – demonstrating that the skills and heritage left to us by previous generations are very much still with us today.”

The monument is due to be installed by the end of the year, following which there will be an official unveiling.


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