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Title: History of the steel industry in the Port Talbot Area 1900-1988
Author: Parry, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 096X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the history of steelmaking at Port Talbot in South Wales from the start of modern steelmaking in 1902 to 1988. Although the British steel industry has been studied at national level, few studies have looked at company level and fewer on plant level studies. By studying this large and significant steelmaking site this thesis sheds light on the interaction between national constraints and local forces for change or inertia and on the interaction of plant management, industry leadership and national Government policies. A number of themes are examined including issues of locational inertia and change; technological innovation and choice; relationships to, and changes in markets; products and demand levels; the role of the state; and issues of decision making. The later includes managers, management structure, conflict among managers, corporate rivalries, relationships with banks and Government, and within nationalised industries. The thesis covers the origins of modern steelmaking at Port Talbot in the 1900s, its expansion and integration with iron making during World War One. It looks at Port Talbot within the framework of heavy steel rationalisation in the 1920s and the inconclusive manoeuvrings to build a strip mill in the 1930s. After World Ward Two Port Talbot emerged as Britain’s leading strip mill through a complex interplay of technological and locational choices including Government pressure and corporate rivalries. The boom years of the 1950s were followed by consolidation and modernisation in the 1960s through the Government inspired over expansion of the strip mill sector. After re-nationalisation in 1967 Port Talbot became involved in internal struggles with rival strip mills over investment. At each stage the thesis uses the detailed local adaptation and innovation within that context. The thesis draws on extensive primary sources including the National Archives, Government Reports and documents, company records, Bank of England papers, trade papers, technical journals, trade union papers and local newspapers. The secondary literature on the steel industry is discussed and revised where appropriate and this study adds a full-scale plant level industrial history of one of the most important British steelworks to this literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available