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Steetley: Magnesite Works Hartlepool

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

In 2005 after being a driving force in the area for many years, the Steetley Magnesite Works at Hartlepool finally closed. The site locally known as the Palliser works suffered a decline in orders as a result of the declining steel industry in the area.

Situated on Old Cemetery Road, the chimney could be seen from miles around.

A post apocalyptic landscape created by the crumbling remains of a once thriving works. Twisted and rusting structures tower above huge tanks containing luminous green water, a ‘toxic’ sign warns of danger on an outside wall.

Graffiti artists mark their ‘territory with elaborate tags, ‘Toupe’ seems dominant here, lesser creators emblazon any expanse of available wall with their often illiterate, but always predictable, words of wisdom. There is always an unexplained tension, in anticipation of what could be around the next corner, some illicit enterprise, youths playing truant or clandestine lovers doing what lovers do.

People walk their dogs or simply take the air along the well worn paths.

It is eerily quiet.

I began to compile these images in 2008, to document the gradual disintegration followed by the inevitable transformation of this valuable land.

The demolition and clean-up began in early 2012. The iconic chimney was the last structure to go, it was raised to the ground on the 29th July at 11.00am.

A housing estate has now replaced the site.

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