Ravenscraig Steel Works

Location type


Name and dates

Ravenscraig Steel Works (1956-1992)

Served by the Ravenscraig Steelworks (David Colville and Sons).
Open on the Colvilles Ltd.


This was an integrated steel works in the east of Motherwell. It was built by Colvilles Ltd and opened, not fully complete, in 1954. The works closed in 1992. From its inception to its closure it was mired in politics.

Opened a considerable distance from tidewater there was no local source of iron ore. Colvilles Ltd wanted to open a modern steelworks but not on this scale, government intervention took precedence.

Rough description of layout

The general layout was stockyards for ore and coal were on the eastern side (served by the Wishaw Deviation (Caledonian Railway). The sinter plant and three blast furnaces were next to the west, followed by banks of coke ovens, the steelworks (using basic oxygen steelmaking after the 1970s). In the west was the strip mill and sidings connected by a line to Mossend Marshalling Yard to the north. Slag processing was to the north, over the South Calder Water.

Within the works most locations were served by rail, there being a series of parallel north-south orientated lines which connected via headshunts in the north and south of the works (a somewhat simplified description). The locomotive shed and engineering services were located by the southern headshunt.

Also in the south were the power station, cooling towers and the famous large blue gasometer with 'Ravenscraig' writ large and its smaller companion.

Incoming materials

Coking coal was originally sourced relatively locally. Iron ore came via General Terminus or Rothesay Dock, both later replaced by the Hunterston Ore Terminal importing both coal and ore. Limestone was from Shap (Hardendale Quarry).


Concast slabs were transferred internally to the strip mill or moved by a private line and yards to the Dalzell Steel Works. Strip coil was taken north to Mossend Marshalling Yard, in later days for dispatch to Shotton Steelworks and other locations.


The threat of closure hung over the works for years. It was a major employer in Scotland. It was a long way from tidewater. There were no local resources. There had been strikes. The works made particularly good steel. And so much more. It was political from start to end.

After closure in 1992 the site was cleared and very little remains save areas of concrete apron, rails embedded in abandoned roadways and footprints of the buildings and gasometers.

The site is slowly being built over.


Steel works

External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Chronology Dates

  /  /1937Colvilles Ltd
Re-structuring begins which will ultimately lead to the construction of the Ravenscraig Steel Works.
  /  /1960National Coal Board
Polkemmet Mine (Whitburn) rebuilt to include a preparation plant. This produced 12000 tons of coking coal per week for the Ravenscraig Steel Works.
  /  /1961Colvilles Ltd
Ravenscraig Steel Works fully opened.
  /  /1992Wishaw Deviation (Caledonian Railway) Ravenscraig Steel Works
The Ravenscraig Steel Works closed in 1992. Ravenscraig No 2 Yard and Ravenscraig No 4 Yard closed.
  /03/2008Wishaw Deviation (Caledonian Railway)
A new station is announced as an integral part of the redevelopment of the Ravenscraig Steel Works as a business and retail park.

News items

21/07/2023MSP reaffirms her opposition to controversial rail freight hub proposals for Ravenscraig [Daily Record]
17/01/2022Councillor reveals Ravenscraig freight terminal to be rejected by planners [Daily Record]
20/10/2021MSP brands proposed Ravenscraig rail transport hub a 'white elephant' [Daily Record]
08/06/2021Removal of banners sparks fury at Ravenscraig site [Motherwell Times]
22/04/2021Families' anger over Ravenscraig 'monstrosity' [BBC News]