From Flickr: “The sawmills, Scotswood Works” by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

April 27, 2015 Uncategorized

Views of workers in the sawmills, Scotswood Works, Newcastle upon Tyne, c1905 (TWAM ref. 5484).

According to ‘Warships and War Materials’, a book produced by Armstrong Whitworth, the sawmill was spread over three floors and included “a complete plant for the manufacture of Artillery wheels, consisting of spoke copying machines, spoke lathes, wheel lathes, one machine for felloe bending and a hydraulic tyring press for tyring wheels cold. The second floor contains small machinery, joiners’ benches, saddlers’ shop and a painting and varnishing shop”.

‘Workshop of the World’ is a phrase often used to describe Britain’s manufacturing dominance during the Nineteenth Century. It’s also a very apt description for the Elswick Works and Scotswood Works of Vickers Armstrong and its predecessor companies. These great factories, situated in Newcastle along the banks of the River Tyne, employed hundreds of thousands of men and women and built a huge variety of products for customers around the globe.

The Elswick Works was established by William George Armstrong (later Lord Armstrong) in 1847 to manufacture hydraulic cranes. From these relatively humble beginnings the company diversified into many fields including shipbuilding, armaments and locomotives. By 1953 the Elswick Works covered 70 acres and extended over a mile along the River Tyne. This set of images, mostly taken from our Vickers Armstrong collection, includes fascinating views of the factories at Elswick and Scotswood, the products they produced and the people that worked there. By preserving these archives we can ensure that their legacy lives on.

(Copyright) We’re happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Please cite ‘Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ when reusing. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions and commercial use of the original physical version apply though; if you’re unsure please email

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