Access road to Whessoe

t15257The old access road to the Whessoe works, formerly know as the South Works of Ashmore Benson & Pease. By the time I took this picture in 1985, it has been breached by the new A66 road. This section still exists as Innovation Way and serves a small commercial area.

Photograph and details courtesy of  Kevin McGowan.

6 thoughts on “Access road to Whessoe

  1. I was an apprentice in the fitting shop at Ashmore Benson Pease and Co at South Works from 1963. The factory was bought by Whessoe in the late sixties I think 1968.
    The fitting shop did have a lathe with a twenty six foot diameter chuck and was probably the biggest in the UK. The factory also had an extensive fabrication shop if my memory serves me right it had seven huge bays plus a north and south high bay.
    The lathe was designed in house at Ashmores by engineering staff.
    Ashmores too were involved in the manufacture of pressure vessels. They also used to design and build blast furnaces used on iron works. The lathe was primarily used for machining the seats for the gas seals on blast furnace bells and hoppers. There used to be a welder permanently employed in the fitting shop and it was his job to put a hard facing on these seats prior to machining, we used to call him Kenny the welder, Happy days.


  2. This Whessoe factory used to be a pressure vessel fabrication shop with I believe the largest diameter horizontal lathe in the U.K., was closed in the early 80’s. in 1984 part of the old workshops were rented by Taylor Warren, a Billingham based medium sized fabrication company who used the shops to build a prototype ammonia reactor for I.C.I. and the 20” diameter Fulmar sub-sea diverter manifold for Shell U.K. who were also having sub-sea protection structures being fabricated there at the same time by another small Stockton based fabricator. This photo was taken whilst this work was ongoing.
    I was the Senior Inspector in charge of the work by Taylor Warren.


    • I worked for Whessoe in the early 60s and worked with Peter Finn as a platers helper great place high pressure vessels for ICI crushing plants for cement works Redcar steel works vessels for transporting liquid iron very sad to see it shut down. I’m still in touch with Peter, his two brothers were also platers


  3. After I scanned this I noticed the metal gates at the end of the road. So it looks like the site was still accessible at this time. Although I don’t know if the A66 was ever closed to allow an oversized load to cross.


  4. Great picture Kevin, including the Whessoe sign and the underpass that has been buried (might of been useful that), but you can still see the concrete and railing that were above the entrance. Innovation Way is now partly residential, serving some of the houses built on the old Visqueen site.


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