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Steel-making at Shotton has a long association with the river Dee. Many local folk recall with great affection, the sturdy vessels that regularly plied the river to load finished steel products at the John Summers Steelworks jetty for delivery to far-off destinations.

The Kathleen & May Centre at Connahs Quay is located just across the river Dee from the steelworks site. It is purposed to nurture community interest in the history of the river and its role in Flintshire's rich industrial past. On 24 May 2018, former staff and shop-floor veterans of steel-making at Shotton, were invited to attend the centre for the unveiling of a special heritage time-line display, donated by the successors to the Summers Shotton works, TATA Steel.

Whilst former work-mates swapped reminisces among the photo displays and memorabilia inside the centre, TATA general manager, Bill Duckworth was interviewed by community commentator and local-heritage volunteer, John Butler. Bill's comments serve to remind a new generation of the area's long connection with quality steel-making and the company's vision and prospects for future employment in the area based on development and processing of innovative, sheet-steel products.

This event was organised by Celia Drew and the volunteer team at Quay Watermens Association. In 2018 the Centre and the QWA ran a program of talks, fun events for children -and of course fabulous boat trips which enabled visitors to safely explore the river Dee and its reaches up to Chester. Extra volunteer hands are always welcome!

History Note:
Gordon Smith, former Press & Information Officer at John Summers/British Steel, Shotton, compiled a book, "A Century Of Shotton Steel (1896-1996)". The author records an event at the genesis of steelmaking on the banks of the river Dee. In September 1895, Bill Butler, as a young boat-man on the river and based at his father's ship-repairing yard alongside what is now the Kathleen & May Centre, was hailed by two businessmen men who wished to be ferried over to inspect the expanse of open land on the northern shore.
That open space was to become the home of a fully-integrated steelworks -that at its peak employed 12,500 local workers.

And the young boatman (who was paid half-a-crown for his troubles) was the grandfather of the producer of this item!

TATA Steel, Shotton contact:

Technical Note:
Camera: Panasonic SDT750
Microphone: Rode VideoMic (Mk1)
Editing software: Adobe Premiere Elements V14
(c) 2024 John Butler

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