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RETRO: Corby - the changing face of the steel town

Corby has gone through many changes over the years

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 9:52 pm

Corby has been through many transformations across the centuries: Romans and Vikings left their mark on the area with the Danish invaders' leader, Kori, giving the town its name 'Kori's by' - 'by' meaning settlement.

Corby was named in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Corbei and noted the 'Manor of Corbei' as an iron-producing centre.

Always known as an iron-working region, with the arrival of rail in the 19th century Corby's industry grew. Its own ironstone works were established in 1910, with the plant being taken over by Stewarts and Lloyds in 1920.

It was not until 1933 that construction began to tap the vast reserves under the surface of the surrounding countryside to produce steel, and to manufacture tubes for the world's markets.

People relocated to Corby from all over Britain to the town for employment, the first of the Scots arriving around 1934 to form a large proportion of the new population.

In 1980, British Steel decided to close the steel works and the effect was devastating on Corby with 6,000 people being made redundant. The decision was made to pull the old works down as quickly as possible to show the commitment to redevelopment.

Within 15 months of the closure, 15,000 new jobs were created by 1,500 new businesses occupying 1.5 million square feet of new business units.

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