coking plant

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What a wild ride that stream was omg. You guys come into MY house and you bloody KINKSHAME me. I’m so mad.

Contemporary industrial landscape of Duisburg as it seen from Alsumer Berg - huge rubble dump in the northern part of the city. At the night-time this area looks like huge space port with high rockets aimed to the sky and numerous spills of light scattered all around.

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New Boston Coke Corporation


The New Boston Coke Corporation was once part of a long history of steel production in southern Ohio. Originally, the coke plant was constructed in 1916 (adjacent to the steel mill along with various other components over the following years). During World War II the steel mill was one of the largest manufactures of 500lb bombs and by 1948 employed around 3,800 and was considered one of the most modern steel mills in the country. During the 1950’s the plant continued to expand, employing 4,800, and in 1965 the coke plant was rebuilt and modernized. However due to increased foreign competition gradual shutdowns of the massive steel facility began in 1972, and in May of 1980, the steel mill was closed. By the time of the shutdown on May 31st, the steel mill and coke plant employed only 1,200 people. The coke plant continued operations in November of 1980 under new ownership from the McClouth Steel Corporation out of Detroit under the new name New Boston Coke Corporation. By November of the following year McClouth had gone into bankruptcy and the New Boston Coke Corporation removed itself from the Detroit company and continued as an independent coke supplier. The success of the business skyrocketed when it landed a contract with the River Rouge Steel Corporation which was a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. During the late 1990’s the Ohio EPA reported that the plant was releasing air pollution “worse than some of the largest industrial sites in the United States.” Cancer rates in the adjoining areas were some of the highest in the country. The coke plant shut down operations in 2002, eliminating just 200 jobs. Redevelopment of the land did not come easy as the soil was heavily contaminated and had an estimated $560,000 to $1,000,000 in cleanup costs. In August of 2006 ground breaking had begun on construction of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter after nearly $1.1 million was spent on cleanup of the site alongside the retail giant, a strip mall now sits on the property. The above photos are all that remains of the complex that was once considered the most advanced in the country.

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Overviews of EVRAZ NTMK plant in Nizhniy Tagil - one of the biggest russian steel mills. Together with UVZ (machine building plant which produces railroad carriages and tanks) and some smaller factories, this huge combine covers almost half of the town’s territory.
Currently only two blast furnaces are running at the site and two more are under demolition. Also there are two coking plants, BOF shop, numerous rolling mills, continous casters and mechanical shops.
Pictures taken in October 2014 from the roof of brand new coal injector.

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“It was like something from the civil war”: the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave

On June 18, 1984, at the height of the UK Miner’s strike, the National Union of Mineworkers arranged what was intended to be a routine mass picket at the British Steel coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire.

Instead, 8000 miners and 5000 police officers – although these numbers are disputed, especially on the side of the police, who may have brought as many as 10,000 men – fought for hours in what has since become one of the most controversial events in recent British history.

In the intervening thirty years, the police involved, (and their superiors), have been accused of brutality, assault, perjury, collusion, perverting the course of justice, and abuse of public office. Not a single miner charged was convicted, and South Yorkshire Police had to pay thirty-nine of those arrested £425,000 in an out of court settlement. It is widely believed by many to be one of the most glaring examples of state violence in contemporary Britain.

The miner’s strike defined its decade. Following the revelation in March 1984 that the government intended to close twenty coal mines, with seventy to follow, mass walk-outs and strikes started immediately. The strike is usually seen as the most important domestic event of the era, as the defeat weakened union power in Britain immensely, and set the stage for five more years of Thatcherite rule.  

The tiny village of Orgreave in South Yorkshire had a population almost exclusively employed in the mining industry. Arthur Scargill, the strike leader, considered the Orgreave coking works to be crucial to the success of the strike, and, after finding out that the plant was having more coal delivered than the amount that had been agreed, sent picketers from all over the country to prevent coal being delivered to the plant. The formation of such lines to prevent delivery was standard practice during the strike.

Initially, the strike was business as usual. The strikers played football, and many removed their shirts. When the lorries arrived to fetch more coal, the order was given for the ‘push’, where miners charged at police lines in an attempt to break them. There was some back and forth for some time, and deployment of mounted police. All of this was reasonably standard for picket action.

However, the police did something new to the UK, and deployed riot police, armed with batons and short shields, and wearing riot gear. The miners panicked, although eventually calm was restored, and space was cleared for the lorries to get through. What happened next is subject to much debate, but what is certain that the miners retreated and were chased by police. The miners were outnumbered and forced to run across a railway line, and some had to climb down the embankment of the bridge, and across the rails. 

It is not disputed that the miners threw stones at the police. But it is widely asserted by the miners that the police response to what amounted to minor resistance was immense and brutal. The miners allege that the police had deliberately pulled picketers out of the crowd to beat them. They charged them with horses and and continued to hit and kick them after their arrest.

Photographs taken at Orgreave show numerous picketers being dragged away bleeding, sat on by officers, and police beating picketers who were not resisting. It has been asserted that the police tactics were the first usage of the deeply controversial kettling technique in the UK. The iconic photograph of Lesley Boulton, a member of Women Against Pit Closures and an unarmed woman, raising her hand to defend herself against a mounted police officer with a baton, became the defining image of the picket.

Ninety-five strikers were charged with riot and unlawful assembly. Riot carried a mandatory life sentence. One of the defendants, Arthur Critchlow, said that he was beaten after arrest by two officers armed with truncheons, and that during his trial he believed utterly that “the state could do what they wanted.” Ultimately, all the trials collapsed, but no officer was ever charged with misconduct. Michael Mansfield QC, who defended many of the miners, said that the evidence given by South Yorkshire Police was “the biggest frame-up ever.”

So: you’ve read all this, and you’re asking, but why does this matter? Because the Battle of Orgreave was a turning point for Britain, and not for the better. Protest became more difficult after Orgreave. Thatcher used the police force more and more as her personal army, to deal with what she considered to be a dangerous revolutionary movement that needed to be crushed at all costs. Thirty years after Orgreave, officers who beat unarmed fifteen year old boys in the street have never faced discipline. Even police officers involved in the Battle claim that it was a travesty. A BBC investigation found widespread evidence that commanding officers in the South Yorkshire Police deliberately fabricated evidence, and that dozens of written “statements” given by officers present at Orgreave were identical.

We are all, in a sense, Thatcher’s children. We live in the shadow of what she destroyed. It is inconceivable that it should take thirty years for basic justice to be done, but that is the world she left us. Hopefully we will finally get an inquiry. But do not believe anyone who tells you that we need to move on from Orgreave. We never got a chance to move on from Orgreave. The working class of Britain have lived with the consequences of Thatcher’s regime for thirty years. Stop being frustrated that people won’t stop harping on about the past, and recognise that you might be angry if it took thirty years for justice to be done. The miner’s strike ended, but the systematic attack, degradation, and smearing of the working classes in Britain have not, and that’s why Orgreave matters. We are all Thatcher’s children. That means you, too.