Bidston Steel

My book "Sixteen Decades in Wallasey" has a whole chapter dedicated to the time I spent working at Bidston Steel. The steel plant has now been replaced by a Tesco Superstore, it has all but disappeared off the face of the earth.

It supplied well over 300 people with high paid jobs, and security for their families. Until we were sold down the river by the government, but more of that in my book.

Some twenty years after the plant had closed May Whitenbury organised a Twentieth Anniversary Party.

Appendix 5 in my book has a full list of all the staff who worked at the Bidston Steel Mill.

Photographs courtesy of  Mr. Law and Mr. Muirhead.


Bidston Steelworks (Closure)


HC Deb 20 May 1985 vol 79 c742.

Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead) I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, the proposed closure of the Bidston steelworks in Birkenhead.

My request is specific because it relates to an announcement of closure made on Friday. It is urgent because the closure will take place in an area where unemployment is already more than 40 per cent.


It is important to have the debate because it would allow me to illustrate how the proposed closure of Bidston steelworks is contrary to two central planks of Government policy. First, the Government say that they believe in competition, but Allied Steel is trying to buy Bidston steelworks only with the aim of closing a competitor.


Secondly, the Government say that they are firmly committed to the private sector, yet Allied Steel, which is half owned by the British Steel Corporation, is using taxpayers' money to destroy jobs in Birkenhead.
Above all, I hope that my application will be successful because it will allow me to express at greater length the anger in our town following the announcement that those jobs will be snatched from our area and transferred to the south.



Chronological Order of events



1976 Change of use of land from open space to industrial use in connection with the steel mill. Application No: APP/76/04649 Decision Date: 22/07/1976
The formula for success for Allied Steel & Wire, Cardiff, is a carbon copy of everything that was planned and carried out by British Reinforced Concrete which was built in the 
mid-70s for Mini Mill specification at Bidston.


1977 BRC application Dock Social Club, Valley Road, Bidston, Wirral, L41 4ED change of use of social club to offices. Application No: APP/76/06066  24/02/1977


1979 Planning approval in March for the Erection of acoustic screen to part of south side of steel mill. Application No: APP/79/11751. Following complaints by the local residents.

1979 Manchester Steel acquired Bidston Steel, rod production became centralised in Manchester and the parent company then had the opportunity to utilise underemployed Bidston equipment which was capable of being adapted and upgraded for use on the secondary cooling project. 


1984 Mr Knut Nygaard, a Norwegian, has been appointed financial director of the Manchester Steel Group. He was previously Assistant Vice-President and Controller at Elkem a/s in Oslo, the parent company. 
In addition to his work for the Manchester and Bidston steel.

The beginning of the end. A big pay off by the government to close Bidston Steel down, under the excuse of overproduction. 

1985  Closure of Bidston Steel BIDSTON STEEL MILL: EMPLOYEES' READAPTATION ALLOWANCES Lord Evans of Claughton asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether they will ensure that the Department of Trade and Industry uses its resources and influence to ensure that the allowances for the training and resettlement of the many people in the Wirral thrown out of work by the closure of the Bidston steel mill, amounting to upwards of £3 million, are paid without further delays.


1987 the 80-ton electric arc furnace, capable of producing 275,000 tons of reinforced steel bars a year, was up for Sale.


1989  the giant Bidston steel mill was dismantled piece-by-piece and rebuilt as the Zhang Jia Gang municipal steel mill in China's Jiangsu Province.


1990 Site of former Bidston Moss Steelworks, Bidston Station Approach. Planning authority: Wirral Borough Council.Job: Reserved matters for the erection of shop with a petrol station and car park.Client: Tesco Stores,