The last week of Eastmoors

During the last week of Eastmoors Steelworks in Splott in 1978, photographer Huw Powell was allowed access to photograph the end of an era.

Inksplott is incredibly excited to bring you the beautiful photographs of the last days of the steel works, which we believe have never been seen before.

We’re hoping that there are people you recognise and can share these photographs with them. We’ll be bringing you more information about the photographer and the story behind the scenes soon, but in the meantime, enjoy this incredible glimpse into the past (and the once beating industrial heart of Splott).

4.00 pm A employee, cycles away from the once busy entrance to East Moors Steel Works, Cardiff at the end of the plants final shift.
Clocking in for very last time.
10.30 am Making his way past the well used clocking-in-machine this man counts his final wage packet.
End of the line for this shunting engine, its driver and his mate.
9.00am From high on the catwalks, the complexity, the grime and the age of the 100 year old steel works can be clearly seen .
11..15am The last pay packets are now being collected by the men, many who had worked their entire lives in the plant.
11.30am Last decisions are made in offices.
The electricity running the production line is shut down for the final time.
One of the many small sad farewell parties around the works on its final day of production.
Shutting the huge machinary down for the last time.
11.00am The line forms at the wages office for the final wage packets.
9.30am Fresh steel, red hot and glowing, rolls down line for the final time.
10.00am The younger workers unsure what to do, are happy to hang about, their work is now finished.
11.00 Still clocked on, these men clear up the site that will be demolished in the coming months.
“Keep it tidy” the sign says. This man’s job was clearing slag from large buckets with a sledge hammer.
12.00am People stood about,killing time, unsure how to react .
They down tools ready to walk away from the job.
Two tungston light bulbs, hanging from the celing, lit up this mans work place. He is in charge of an decades old electricity generator that powered to the production line.
11.00 Their shift finished, these men use a washroom in filthy conditions that would never be tolerated in todays work enviroment.
11.40am A crane driver manovers the some of last of the glowing steel down the production line.
12.am By now the last drinks parties are in full swing around the site.
12.15am A lone man sits in one of the numerous grubby improvised canteens around the works, unsure what to do next.
Local children in a cafe next to the site. Their parents work in the steel works, and have left them in a safe place. These children would have been expected to join their fathers in the works when old enough.
12,30am A jam jar makes an improvised beer glass as the drinking really starts at the end of the final shift.
12.45am The P45’s and final pay packets are still being handed out from the secure wages office. There is tension among the men.
1pm. Unable to leave for the final time, this man was found drunk and crying to himself at the back of the Works.
The engineer in charge of these ancient generators.
The scale of the machinary dwarfes the man who operated it.
1.30pm Figures seem to become ghosts as they move around the redundent landscape.
2.00pm A ladder is ‘liberated’ by these men, who laughed happily as their ‘get away’ was photographed.
A landscape of complex industrial shapes with figures moving through for the last time.
A lanscape of complex industrail shapes with figures moving around it for the last time.
People from all over the works gather to watch the final ingots of steel that East Moors ever produced.
1.00pm The parties are now in full swing.
12.00am This man will not leave his post as the final steel passes him going down the production line.
11.00am A man gazes from a site control room,
“Keep it tidy” the sign says. This man’s job was clearing slag from large buckets with a sledge hammer.
12.20am After a life at the Works this man told me he was resigned to never working again.
12.50 the final pay packet goes safely In the back pocket
2.00pm The party continues.
2pm Well dressed and ready to collect his final wages.
2pm A works manager signs off paperwork for a final time.
The senior managers from British Steel watch the final day’s production.
3.30pm A well used tea and locker room now lies empty and deserted.
11.45am A crane driver oversees the movement of the final steel produced.
4pm and the steel works falls silent . A stray cat feels safe to come out. The buildings are now almost empty and the remaining people seem like ghosts.
1.00am The last pay packets are passed out through the grill from the wages department. There is none of the usual banter and it is clear this is a traumatic experience.
2.30pm This man told me he had worked here, looking after these aging machines, ever since he left school.
2.00pm This man has collected his final pay packet, and has gone straight to the Unemployment Benefit office set up on site.
100 years of steel production finished. A chalked message sums it up.

These images are so powerful and poignant – they belong to everyone. Inksplott will be working with the photographer to apply for funding to display the photos in Splott and give out copies to the people who are in the photographs, who are related to the people in the photographs or have a real connection to any of these photographs.

Watch this space for more information, but for now, enjoy these. I hope they find their way to the people connected to them.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Huw Powell for trusting Inksplott to share these photographs after all these years.