Before the 1840s the area now known as Consett was a wild, desolate space. The explosive development which resulted from the formation of the Derwent Iron Company at this time created a 'Company town' in the truest sense, with the lives of approximately 14,000 workers and their dependents dominated by iron, coal and, later, steel.
The early influx of families from all over Great Britain, arriving in Consett with hopes of a brighter future, found no comfort of facilities and there was conflict between factions from different regions. Despite these early difficulties, however, there emerged over the years a close-knit community rich in spirit and character - fully deserving of the title 'Men of Steel' which they were given in later years - and a town that reflected the immense influence of its main employer.
This collection of over 200 photographs reflects on some of the people who created the town and its surrounding villages and on how they lived, worked and played.