Dorman Long Tower - Listed Building Status

newyddion

Well-known member
Love the blast furnace outline at Redcar. Iconic. Historical. Cultural. Etched into the very fabric of our heritage.

Nah. A complete derelict eyesore. Just the same as the Dorman Long Tower.

My point being how far do you go? Is every piece of scrap with an historical link to the area to be saved?
You keep the buildings that the experts deem historical and architecturally important. You don't even have to think about it, you don't pay for it all you have to do is not have your mayor spend £1m on blowing it up.
 

fmttmadmin

Administrator
Staff member
Love the blast furnace outline at Redcar. Iconic. Historical. Cultural. Etched into the very fabric of our heritage.

Nah. A complete derelict eyesore. Just the same as the Dorman Long Tower.

My point being how far do you go? Is every piece of scrap with an historical link to the area to be saved?
No but good to save some of the more iconic. There are still a few traces of iron stone mining in East Cleveland, lead mining in the Dales, tin mining in Cornwall. In fact Heritage Lottery awarded several million to conserve and re-present ironstone mining relics on North York Moors.
I would say to you, how far do you go in removing all landmarks?
 

zzzzz

Well-known member
No but good to save some of the more iconic. There are still a few traces of iron stone mining in East Cleveland, lead mining in the Dales, tin mining in Cornwall. In fact Heritage Lottery awarded several million to conserve and re-present ironstone mining relics on North York Moors.
I would say to you, how far do you go in removing all landmarks?
Not sure how ironstone and lead mining realate to the Dorman Long Tower and the Blast Furnace eyesore....... there's a bit of a different context there? A big ugly context if we're honest.

But in my non expert opinion it has gone from the acceptable to the ridiculous. On new 'breaking ground' developments we've gone from a 'watching brief' at topsoil strip to a countrywide policy of 'strip map and search' looking for evidence of archaelogy even before devolpment begins. Hunting for it. This before the 'watching brief'. Costing the taxpayer and business many £millions.

I know it's your passion Rob and I fully understand the importance of exploring preserving where possible and learning from history but the 'p' takers are starting to ruin things in going too far.
 

fmttmadmin

Administrator
Staff member
Why have you put this picture of Tosh up Newy?
He tried to fight for the tower and is also engaged in recording the Blast Furnace at Redcar. I think you will find he is very constrained with what he can say in public as part of the group. And anything he has said to me has been in confidence. Tosh fights hard for local heritage. And really tried to make a difference as a lad from South Bank and a keen historian to defend his and our heritage.
 

fmttmadmin

Administrator
Staff member
Not sure how ironstone and lead mining realate to the Dorman Long Tower and the Blast Furnace eyesore....... there's a bit of a different context there? A big ugly context if we're honest.

But in my non expert opinion it has gone from the acceptable to the ridiculous. On new 'breaking ground' developments we've gone from a 'watching brief' at topsoil strip to a countrywide policy of 'strip map and search' looking for evidence of archaelogy even before devolpment begins. Hunting for it. This before the 'watching brief'. Costing the taxpayer and business many £millions.

I know it's your passion Rob and I fully understand the importance of exploring preserving where possible and learning from history but the 'p' takers are starting to ruin things in going too far.
That is not how it works at all archaeology wise. I have been contracted to assist in two archaeological surveys and digs this year and will soon do a watching brief. Our scope and powers are limited and we charge very little, certainly compared to the developments proposed. I think what you say is grossly inaccurate. Archaeologists are only called in for an area that is sensitive and effectively has a good chance of producing results that will enrich.
What you are posting here is completely misleading. You may need to go back and look at your sources.
 

newyddion

Well-known member
Why have you put this picture of Tosh up Newy?
He tried to fight for the tower and is also engaged in recording the Blast Furnace at Redcar. I think you will find he is very constrained with what he can say in public as part of the group. And anything he has said to me has been in confidence. Tosh fights hard for local heritage. And really tried to make a difference as a lad from South Bank and a keen historian to defend his and our heritage.
He tried to fight, ah well I take it back then. I look forward to reading his book available from the heritage unlocked website The Cheese Schnitzel
 

Andy_W

Well-known member
The building was wrecked, so wrecked that they couldn't even go inside to see how bad it was. Even from the photo's they could get, it looked like an absolute shocker. It would have been worse inside, with less opportunity to dry and more opportunity for corrosion.

To try and survey it, internally would have been more cost and risk than it was worth to look at, and I looked at it/ could see it for about 5 years for most of the day, as my office faced it. I quite liked it, but totally understand why it had to go, which is totally fine.

As for the report/ feasibility study, companies always put their client on the paperwork, it's just the done thing, I do the same on the studies I put together for highways/ Network rail etc. But don't for one second think that would sway the direction or quality of the report. Atkins are an absolutely massive company, who have been going 20 years longer than that building had been built. They would not risk their reputation committing fraud, by creating a fictional study, it just wouldn't happen. Not to mention there was probably 100 people involved in putting it together. Why risk everything for 0.0001% of their annual turnover? Even Ben Airport couldn't get them to do that, even if he wanted to.

The client could possibly get Atkins to air on the side of caution, with repair costs or maintenance, but from reading most of it, they've not even done that. To me it would have no doubt ended up with scaffold around it for 10 years of the next 20 years life, just to repair it, it would have been an eyesore. Then after 5-10 years unobstructed it would have had to have been blown up at three times the cost (and risk) when other premises surrounded it. That's not going to be good to look at, or wise expenditure. They could have easily underestimated the maintenance cost, like pretty much every repair contract does, or they could have ended up blowing 20m to realise it had 10 years left etc.

It's 40 years over its design life and hadn't been used for 40 years, it's served its purpose, now it is done. The land can now be used for something else, likely for the next 30,50 or 100 years. If someone wanted to save it, the time was 20 or 40 years ago, it was too late last year, last month, last week, and it's too late now.

Times change, life goes on. Spending 1m to blow it up isn't ideal, but that is also including all the removal and asbestos work, that seems quite "cheap" to me, and no doubt that's a fixed price all risks contract, so no additional risk on the taxpayer.

Would be good idea to build a monument to it or something, they could even possibly do this as some sort of full-size shell in the same location, or a smaller version in a more prominent place. This will no doubt not happen mind, especially as they have to keep pumping money into the Transporter, and soon to be spending on flood defences.
 

newyddion

Well-known member
The building was wrecked, so wrecked that they couldn't even go inside to see how bad it was. Even from the photo's they could get, it looked like an absolute shocker. It would have been worse inside, with less opportunity to dry and more opportunity for corrosion.

To try and survey it, internally would have been more cost and risk than it was worth to look at, and I looked at it/ could see it for about 5 years for most of the day, as my office faced it. I quite liked it, but totally understand why it had to go, which is totally fine.

As for the report/ feasibility study, companies always put their client on the paperwork, it's just the done thing, I do the same on the studies I put together for highways/ Network rail etc. But don't for one second think that would sway the direction or quality of the report. Atkins are an absolutely massive company, who have been going 20 years longer than that building had been built. They would not risk their reputation committing fraud, by creating a fictional study, it just wouldn't happen. Not to mention there was probably 100 people involved in putting it together. Why risk everything for 0.0001% of their annual turnover? Even Ben Airport couldn't get them to do that, even if he wanted to.

The client could possibly get Atkins to air on the side of caution, with repair costs or maintenance, but from reading most of it, they've not even done that. To me it would have no doubt ended up with scaffold around it for 10 years of the next 20 years life, just to repair it, it would have been an eyesore. Then after 5-10 years unobstructed it would have had to have been blown up at three times the cost (and risk) when other premises surrounded it. That's not going to be good to look at, or wise expenditure. They could have easily underestimated the maintenance cost, like pretty much every repair contract does, or they could have ended up blowing 20m to realise it had 10 years left etc.

It's 40 years over its design life and hadn't been used for 40 years, it's served its purpose, now it is done. The land can now be used for something else, likely for the next 30,50 or 100 years. If someone wanted to save it, the time was 20 or 40 years ago, it was too late last year, last month, last week, and it's too late now.

Times change, life goes on. Spending 1m to blow it up isn't ideal, but that is also including all the removal and asbestos work, that seems quite "cheap" to me, and no doubt that's a fixed price all risks contract, so no additional risk on the taxpayer.

Would be good idea to build a monument to it or something, they could even possibly do this as some sort of full-size shell in the same location, or a smaller version in a more prominent place. This will no doubt not happen mind, especially as they have to keep pumping money into the Transporter, and soon to be spending on flood defences.
I'm not saying Atkins were committing fraud, the figures were ball park figures airing on the side of caution and even then they were not as significant as they were made out to be. Who knows what the 1st draft said and the 2nd draft.. the costs associated could have been even more favourable. If a client asks to air on the side of caution and to price for every single eventuality or even to take out parts of a report that would show estimated cost cycles to extent the life of the tower by 15-20 years at a time.. even up to 45-60 years then you would take it out. Naturally, you are working as per the clients instructions.
 
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zzzzz

Well-known member
That is not how it works at all archaeology wise. I have been contracted to assist in two archaeological surveys and digs this year and will soon do a watching brief. Our scope and powers are limited and we charge very little, certainly compared to the developments proposed. I think what you say is grossly inaccurate. Archaeologists are only called in for an area that is sensitive and effectively has a good chance of producing results that will enrich.
What you are posting here is completely misleading. You may need to go back and look at your sources.
I have no sources Rob, that's how it works in my personal experience.
Scotch Corner Retail Park site. Extensive Strip Map and Search across the proposed development. Nothing found.
Scotch Corner Garden Centre site. Extensive Strip Map and Search across the proposed development. Nothing found.
South Hampton to London Pipeline. Extensive pre-emptive Strip Map and Search in selected "high risk areas". Nothing found. On this I know they spent £2.12m pounds in total for the SMS exercise.
I'm involved with two other DCOs where SMS is being exercised.

In terms of 'what you say is grossly inaccurate' and 'change very little' I also have direct examples where the incompetence of the site Archaelogists has delayed the works and cost the client lumps of money.

This looks very much like I'm having a pop at you, honestly I'm not. Perhaps I see it at a bit of higher level than you?

All this said it is fascinating and when I do visit 'areas of interest' what you people find is brought back to life in a magical way. When you see the footprint of the dwelling and the explantion of where they used to go for a shyte, where their refuse dump was, which implements they used, where the burial ground was. Centuries brought back to life.
 

newyddion

Well-known member
C20 Society Director, Catherine Croft, on the recent demolition of the Dorman Long tower:

This case is an example of how not to take irreversible decisions about heritage. Decision making has been extremely rushed, there has been no time for informed public debate, and many expert bodies, including the C20 Society have not been able to make their views known before a significant historic structure has been reduced to rubble. It’s a very bad start for the new Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The Dorman Long tower was due to be retained as part of the regeneration of the wider site. This intention was backed by the local conservative MP, Jacob Young, and it was in the Local Plan that it should stay.

A turnaround was apparently prompted by the desire to announce that proposals to erect wind turbines on the site could be made ahead of COP26.

In response to this, concerned locals put in an application for emergency spot listing. Historic England (to which such applications are submitted) acted extremely quickly and sent a report to DCMS recommending listing. This recommendation was made on 10th September 2021. In Historic England’s Advice Report, the tower was described as ‘a recognised and celebrated example of early Brutalist architecture’, ‘a rare (considered to be nationally unique) surviving structure from the C20 coal, iron and steel industries’ and ‘an advert for, Dorman Long […] a leading firm nationally’.

The South Tees Development Corporation asked for the decision to be reviewed on 13th of September. DCMS immediately asked Historic England to look at the further information submitted which they swiftly did on the 14th of September. Their advice was that the extra information was not sufficient to make them change their mind, and that they still considered the tower to be of listable quality.

On 16th of September the newly appointed Secretary of State at DCMS, Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP, reversed the decision to list. In her letter she says that this was done ‘with the benefit of Historic England’s latest advice and the evidence contained within the review request’. In other words, the information she had to draw on was Historic England’s advice that listing should not be overturned, and contrary information from private consultants employed by the Development Corporation, who wished to facilitate demolition. She appears to have valued these consultants’ advice over that given to her by a public body, Historic England, which is ‘the government’s expert advisor on England’s heritage’.

C20 Society has made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to DCMS to see the information submitted by both Historic England and the Development Corporation, but in the meantime the tower has been demolished.

It didn’t need to play out like this. If the Development Corporation had thought that there was any possibility that they might want to change their minds and demolish the tower, then they should have asked for a Certificate of Immunity (COI) from listing. This triggers a process which ensures that a considered assessment of the architectural and historic interest of a building is carried out in good time. An application for a COI prompts a comprehensive investigation by Historic England, and if the certificate is granted, then the applicants (usually the building’s owners) receive a guarantee that no listing will occur for the next five years. The Development Corporation’s consultants are very aware of this process.

C20 Society is extremely disappointed that an amazing structure with a rich history has been destroyed. There was the potential for it to have been repaired and integrated into a new development, which would have been a culturally rich solution. Demolition is also environmentally deplorable. Going forward, it is really important to make sure that important decisions like this are not rushed as this one has been.

For press enquiries, please email caseworker@c20society.org.uk

Dorman-Long-Tower-Teesside-Archives-British-Steel-Collection-588x820.jpg
 

rob_fmttm

Administrator
I have no sources Rob, that's how it works in my personal experience.
Scotch Corner Retail Park site. Extensive Strip Map and Search across the proposed development. Nothing found.
Scotch Corner Garden Centre site. Extensive Strip Map and Search across the proposed development. Nothing found.
South Hampton to London Pipeline. Extensive pre-emptive Strip Map and Search in selected "high risk areas". Nothing found. On this I know they spent £2.12m pounds in total for the SMS exercise.
I'm involved with two other DCOs where SMS is being exercised.

In terms of 'what you say is grossly inaccurate' and 'change very little' I also have direct examples where the incompetence of the site Archaelogists has delayed the works and cost the client lumps of money.

This looks very much like I'm having a pop at you, honestly I'm not. Perhaps I see it at a bit of higher level than you?

All this said it is fascinating and when I do visit 'areas of interest' what you people find is brought back to life in a magical way. When you see the footprint of the dwelling and the explantion of where they used to go for a shyte, where their refuse dump was, which implements they used, where the burial ground was. Centuries brought back to life.
You do have a lot of information. Am sorry I cannot comment. Except to say you do know that important Roman and Iron Age settlements were discovered and excavated in the recent road widening at Scotch Corner with multiple finds etc.
 

newyddion

Well-known member
241475836_1752821864910318_2272359276827515275_n.jpg


Virtual Reality look inside Dorman Long tower

Middlesbrough Art Weekender Website

This would have been much better with the proposed projected art installation actually onto the tower. Looks like it was all going to be geared around the tower with a view to turning the tower into something like the Baltic art gallery. It's a shame it didn't go head last year tbh because folks would have been able to get a better look at what was possible.

A Statement from the Organisers:

'It is something more than disappointment, to hear that the Grade II listing given to the Dorman Long Tower by Historic England only a few days ago has been revoked by the new minister for Culture after an appeal by TVCA Mayor Ben Houchen, and that the iconic Brutalist building will be demolished this weekend.
This isn’t cultural vandalism, its cultural erasure.

Parcelling off an acre of land from Europe’s largest brownfield site on which the Dorman sits, should not be a problem. Even raising the £9 million to make safe the structure, although a vast sum, would have been achievable.

The Dorman Long Tower was the linchpin for us moving here, it genuinely sealed the deal. It is much more than a rotting coal bunker.
There’s a saying in Ireland - tir gan anam, tir gan teanga; a country without a language is a country without a soul. The Dorman Long Tower is part of Teesside’s language; part of the strength, power and ambition of the Teesside spirit.
And long may that stand.'
 
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newyddion

Well-known member
Just another daft heritage asset built by Dorman Long opened 1932 it cost £10m and took 55 years to pay off.. should probably raze it.
BB24BBD1-1C99-4228-A414-CF72A2A0AD0D.jpeg
Thomas Tait was the consulting architect to Dorman Long with responsibility for the design of the purely decorative pylons. Tait drew on the Roman cenotaph form and on the iconography of Egyptian monuments to add a war memorial symbol after the Great War. Oddly familiar don’t you think?
 

Ex pfc wintergreen

Well-known member
Just another daft heritage asset built by Dorman Long opened 1932 it cost £10m and took 55 years to pay off.. should probably raze it.
View attachment 24857
Thomas Tait was the consulting architect to Dorman Long with responsibility for the design of the purely decorative pylons. Tait drew on the Roman cenotaph form and on the iconography of Egyptian monuments to add a war memorial symbol after the Great War. Oddly familiar don’t you think?
Well if it was in a dangerous state of repair and economically prohibitive to maintain they probably would. I have no problem in having the transporter demolished for the same reason.But that’s easy for me to say because my grandad never worked on it.😎
 

Andy_W

Well-known member
I'm not saying Atkins were committing fraud, the figures were ball park figures airing on the side of caution and even then they were not as significant as they were made out to be. Who knows what the 1st draft said and the 2nd draft.. the costs associated could have been even more favourable. If a client asks to air on the side of caution and to price for every single eventuality or even to take out parts of a report that would show estimated cost cycles to extent the life of the tower by 15-20 years at a time.. even up to 45-60 years then you would take it out. Naturally, you are working as per the clients instructions.
How do you know any of that. Do you work for Atkins?

1st and 2nd drafts are quite often just text, or no images, or a split document, rather than the full collated document, as putting it all together can be a nightmare, especially when there are a couple of daft errors to correct, which there always are.

I think you're going a bit too deep into this, I don't think it's a conspiracy, basically due to common sense in the construction industry, and also due Atkins size, and how many people would have had a hand in the report. If you were going to try and play it totally one way, you would just get in a much, much smaller firm, even a one-man band consultant, who you can at least lead to some degree.

They probably didn't even have to go down the full feasibility route, they possibly could have just torn it down and said that's that. Seems to me they genuinely wanted to see if it could be saved, and at the very least they asked a question. Most people asking for a feasibility study have absolutely zero clue what they're looking at never mind directing its content, and 99.9% don't understand it or the implications, generally, only the guy writing it does.

Working in construction and actually written many longer feasibility studies single-handedly, I'm amazed the initial repair bill was only 4.7m to be honest, it just seems like such a low figure for what it would entail. It could have easily doubled that, and certainly wouldn't have been half, that's for sure. Then 325k a year is a drop in the ocean on such a large structure. Another issue is, who is going to do the full repair works, and when, where is the labour coming from? Even in the last year many construction contracts have doubled due to lack of labour and materials, and most consultants don't even realise this as they're working from old rates, and collated knowledge from the last 10 years, it's all meaningless after such sharp rises in prices and lack of labour.

Also, most small construction firms (the subbies) are fully booked for at least a year, and you would need 10-20, agreeing on a program for something like this, it was never going to happen.

Another thing to consider is that having the local authority/ council manage that repair would have also been an absolute cluster ****, they would have had their pants pulled down by every contractor going, and no way would they have got fixed-price contracts, which means a pretend price and then a jacked-up cost later down the line.

The only way I can think that it would have been a benefit is the economical/ jobs benefit of that 10m (20m) repair bill sloshing around if the works could have been done by local companies. People often forget about this, but it's often the best argument to spend money, as you get most of it back in tax, wages, VAT, not paying out for people not at work etc.

There was absolutely zero chance that could have stood another 30 years safely, you can see that from the external images, never mind that from inside, which could not be seen. Once corrosion starts it doesn't stop, and it's impossible to deny it's happening or know the full extent of it. Putting up scaffolding on something like that would have been a massive risk to the scaffs, never mind the other guys who would have had to go inside.

There are loads of bridges over all our A-Roads and Motorways, suffering from the very same problem, and these were newer structures. There's actually a race on (and a grab for funds) to knock them down and repair them. I would much rather the money went on some of those, after seeing the state of some of them first hand.

That £1m to knock it down is the best value insurance policy I've seen. It's a shame, but it is what it is, move on and invest in the future, not the past.
 
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ThatFragranceGuy

Well-known member
Are we really trying to equate the functional Sydney harbour bridge with a disused coal bunker on wasteland now? It's getting a bit silly. I thought stone henge and the Baltic were flights of fancy but come on.
 

fmttmadmin

Administrator
Staff member
Are we really trying to equate the functional Sydney harbour bridge with a disused coal bunker on wasteland now? It's getting a bit silly. I thought stone henge and the Baltic were flights of fancy but come on.
It was destroyed so quickly no one had the chance to actually look at future use or what the structure might represent. You often advocate a very virtual life others want to actually see, touch and experience things. It would have been nice to have given time for everyone to have their voice and also to weigh things up with all the evidence and all the options on the table.
 

ThatFragranceGuy

Well-known member
It was destroyed so quickly no one had the chance to actually look at future use or what the structure might represent. You often advocate a very virtual life others want to actually see, touch and experience things. It would have been nice to have given time for everyone to have their voice and also to weigh things up with all the evidence and all the options on the table.
Yes I'm sure everyone would've been queuing up to stroke the tower Rob.

again who was paying for all this? And why weren't they doing anything about it until now if it's so significant?

you can't tell me with a straight face that dorman long tower would have been stone henge or Sydney harbour bridge of teesside, it just wouldn't.
 
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