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Steetley Magnesite Best Viewed By Pressing L | by Jonathan Irwin Photography
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Steetley Magnesite Best Viewed By Pressing L

Steetley Magnesite

What a place, despite the large scale of dereliction and destruction the site still had a silent beauty. The mangled metal, the large holding tanks and the many out buildings all had their own unique appeal and beauty. For many years it was a mecca for many an urban photographer, and I personally made many visits over the years and each visit I found something new and interesting to photograph.


In this set of shots I have illustrated the stark contrast between beauty and dereliction and tried to encompass both a documentary feel coupled with industrial landscape.


Sadly the place has now been cleared and the final act was the demolition of the Steetley chimney which was an iconic landmark and could be seen from mile around. It often reminded me of a very large upended cigarette.


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Here is a little bit of Steetley history


In 1937 the Steetley plc bought this 24-acre site on the coast of Hartlepool and invested £10,000 for a pilot plant to test out a new production process. In 1938 Steetley constructed a much larger plant on the site with the capacity of producing 10,000 tones of magnesia per year. Another extension to the plant was completed in 1962. This included the world's largest settling tank and a 2,000-ft pier to carry pipelines to bring in seawater. This expansion gave the site a capacity close to a quarter of a million tonnes a year making it the largest plant in the world at that time.

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Taken on April 7, 2009