Industrial Archaeology Recordings

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Hand Rolling of Steel

Iron & Steel Making, DVD Production

Hand rolling of steelBackground

A record of the last Black Country hand steel rolling mill (John Bradley & Co.) made in 1982, only 3 days before it closed.

The production follows the process from raw material to the final rolled section, providing an invaluable insight into the old hand skills.

Roll stand rolling angles At one time there were over 300 similar mills in the Black Country area alone. This type of works has been almost entirely replaced by modern high speed mechanised mills.

Keith Gale served an apprenticeship at Soho Foundry. After taking up technical journalism in 1950 he became one of the foremost authorities on the history of iron and steel in Britain.

The GEC Electric motor driving the mill DVD special features:

All the useable footage recorded in 1982 but not used in the original production is made available for the first time; including the changing of a pair of rolls, and several ‘cobbles’ (incorrectly rolled sections) which occurred before the new rolls were fully adjusted! In addition, there are 34 pages of text: the complete script, a glossary of steel rolling terms and a biography of W.K.V. Gale.

For more information, on John Bradley Rolling Mills, see the John Bradley Ironworks Site Feature

Machining a new set of rolls


  • Written and narrated by W.K.V.Gale.
  • NGR: (139) SO 895 848
  • £12.00 - Full Feature DVD
  • Running times:
    • Main feature - 12½ mins.
    • Cobbles - 2½ minutes,
    • Out-takes & roll change - 32½ minutes
  • Price includes worldwide delivery.
  • ' PAL' and 'NTSC' versions available.

Please see the 'Sales' page for additional purchasing information.

The images on this page are taken from the video.

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 Copyright © I.A.Recordings, Last modified: 20 June, 2018