The United Steel Companies Ltd: Steel, Peech and Tozer relied on family members to become senior managers and on the death of his father Harry Steel had become chairman of the company; this had heralded a new era of expansion.
A series of mergers and takeovers had created the United Steel Companies Ltd, a vast business stretching from Scunthorpe to Stocksbridge. Steelmaking, mining businesses and engineering works all became part of the company.
Successfully navigating the tricky years of the post war and 1930s depressions Steelos invested over £11 million to become by 1939, one of the UKs largest companies.
The company became renowned for looking after the welfare of its workers. Pensions, accident benefits and social clubs helped create a loyal workforce and close-knit community.
Once again, during WWII the steel industry played a vital role in the war effort. Between 1939 and 1945 four million tons of molten steel passed through the steelworks. Cast into ingots, it was used for everything from shells to gun barrels, tank armour to aircraft parts, and Bailey bridges. Unlike the First World War when steel was a protected industry, this time women were needed to perform vital roles in the steelworks. Pay was good and a women crane driver could earn £9 per week.
Steelos was a major target for the Luftwaffe in the north of England. Maintaining the blackout was a top priority, ensuring the red-hot furnaces didn’t light up the night sky and alert enemy planes to the steelworks’ location.