The Ironworks closed in 1867 and the abandoned site began to decay. The last surviving industrial chimney, on the Bebside bank of the river, was demolished in the early 1900s, but many other ironworks buildings lasted well into living memory. Although Dene park was landscaped in the 1950s, remains of ironworks structures can still be seen around the river Blyth, which once powered hammers and hearths through leets and channels, and now provides a physical link between the past and the present.
For information on visible remains of the ironworks, please click here for a report produced by Peter Ryder, historic buildings expert, following site visits in March 2009 (79Kb) >
Work on establishing what remains of the ironworks buried beneath Dene Park was undertaken by archaeologists from the University of Newcastle in 1999. After preparatory surveys, trial excavations carried out in October 1999 at various sites, including the old quay west of furnace Bridge (see photo), showed that foundations, floors, culverts and other remains still survive in abundance below the parkland grass.
Further work to clear debris and vegetation from some of the surviving remains was carried out by volunteers led by Barry Mead in 2007, and can now be viewed in our Photo Gallery of Community Work >
...or click here for our Gallery of Modern Site Photos >