Dorman Long Tower: Reduced to rubble but the fight rumbles on

  • Video report by Rachel Bullock

It was demolished on Sunday, but the conversation about how the fate of the Dorman Long Tower was sealed continues.

The structure stood shadowing over South Bank, on the border of Middlesbrough and Redcar - a reminder of the long history of steelmaking on Teesside.

Now, it has been flattened, ready to make way for promises of a new development and hundreds of jobs.

Built in the 1950s, the monolith was part of the Dorman Long steelworks, the company that created the Tyne Bridge and the similar Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.

It was marked for demolition in 2020, as part of clearing the huge site for the Teesworks development, led by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

A campaign then launched to save it, claiming historic and architectural importance. That importance was then recognised by Historic England on 10 September 2021, granting Grade II listed status just hours after Redcar & Cleveland Council approved demolition.

The council said it was due to the findings of an independent report into the safety of the structure. It showed "irreversible damage" that would cost millions to maintain, and eventually crumble regardless.

Despite the efforts of campaigners and English Heritage, on 16 September listed status was then withdrawn after the Tees Valley Combined Authority appealed to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its new minister Nadine Dorries.

Now, the demolition team says it is doing its best to recover some of the iconic lettering that stood above Teesside for so long.

Teesworks says a public consultation had taken place, and the site needed to be cleared to make way for 2,000 jobs on a new GE wind farm development. The Dorman Long Preservation Group says it could have stayed standing though.