Ordnance Survey Map of Corby 1950

Corby Reborn

From Shut-down to Success - the story of Corby's recent past.
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This Rose of the Shires website has a mission to focus on the positive. It seems odd, then, to blog about the devestating announcement forty years ago that threatened to ruin the north of Northamptonshire. But the recent story of Corby is about reconstruction and revival and the remaking of a flourishing community.

Deposits of Iron Ore were rediscovered near the village of Corby in the 19th Century. Between the censuses of 1881 and 1891 the population had grown from well under 1000 to nearly 4000 people. After Stewarts and Lloyds’ Steel Works was completed in 1933, 4000 people were employed in the plant alone and the general population had risen to over 10,000.

During WW2, the business flourished producing steel tubes for the "Pipe Lines Under The Ocean" that supplied fuel to Allied troops as the pushed to reconquer Europe after D-Day.

By 1979, the plant, then owned by British Steel, had become unprofitable and was soon closed with the loss of more than 10,000 jobs in the works and supporting businesses. Local unemployment rose to 30%.

Right away, many used their redundancy payments to begin new business. The old steel works was pulled down and new business units built and occupied. Corby was made an Enterprise Zone which delivered tax breaks and other incentives. Corby also received funding from the European Union.

Development was further boosted by the reopening of Corby Railway station in 2009.

Corby has now been named by the Office for National Statistics as the fastest-growing borough outside London. The population that is expected to reach nearly 76,500 by 2024.

See the Steel Works on this 1950 OS Map

Our brief summary little more than hints at the story of Corby. Here are several links where you can read much more detail:

The rise, fall and rise again of Corby
Open Learn (The Open University)

History of Corby
Corby Borough Council

The Corby Steel Industry
Northamptonshire County Council - Northamptonshire's Heritage

'Devastating' steel works closure remembered
BBC

How Corby dusted off the ashes of post-industrial decay
The Guardian

Deposits of Iron Ore were rediscovered near the village of Corby in the 19th Century. Between the censuses of 1881 and 1891 the population had grown from well under 1000 to nearly 4000 people. After Stewarts and Lloyds’ Steel Works was completed in 1933, 4000 people were employed in the plant alone and the general population had risen to over 10,000.

During WW2, the business flourished producing steel tubes for the "Pipe Lines Under The Ocean" that supplied fuel to Allied troops as the pushed to reconquer Europe after D-Day.

By 1979, the plant, then owned by British Steel, had become unprofitable and was soon closed with the loss of more than 10,000 jobs in the works and supporting businesses. Local unemployment rose to 30%.

Right away, many used their redundancy payments to begin new business. The old steel works was pulled down and new business units built and occupied. Corby was made an Enterprise Zone which delivered tax breaks and other incentives. Corby also received funding from the European Union.

Development was further boosted by the reopening of Corby Railway station in 2009.

Corby has now been named by the Office for National Statistics as the fastest-growing borough outside London. The population that is expected to reach nearly 76,500 by 2024.

See the Steel Works on this 1950 OS Map

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Our brief summary little more than hints at the story of Corby. Here are several links where you can read much more detail:

The rise, fall and rise again of Corby
Open Learn (The Open University)

History of Corby
Corby Borough Council

The Corby Steel Industry
Northamptonshire County Council - Northamptonshire's Heritage

'Devastating' steel works closure remembered
BBC

How Corby dusted off the ashes of post-industrial decay
The Guardian

Corby Cube

Corby Cube

Related OG Image by Tom Walker