Date: August 22, 2021 7:38 pm

Shotton steelworks: Former apprentice helps restore building

Shotton steelworks: Former apprentice helps restore building

A businessman has returned to the place he was a teenage apprentice to help restore a dilapidated landmark.

The Grade II-listed John Summers Clock Tower in Deeside was home to Shotton Steelworks’ general office from 1907.

After the Flintshire building was sold by Tata Steel in 2009, it was vandalised and fell into disrepair.

Now, 20 years after he started an apprenticeship at the steelworks, Scott Davis has returned to help restore the building.

The project, which has received lottery funding, has been supported by more than 50 volunteers who have helped clear the way for major structural repairs.

Shotton steelworks’ John Summers building to be restored
Bid to reopen Shotton steelworks’ John Summers building
Led by the non-profit Enbarr Foundation, the project is under way to turn the building into a community hub and heritage skills centre.

 

Mr Davis, 39, is the CEO of Ethikos Group, which owns firms in the electrical and manufacturing sectors and has operations in Deeside, Cheshire and Anglesey.

He knows this will not be a quick-fix project: “There’s no electric on site, no water, so we’ve got to try and get those reconnected.

“But with the manpower and all the volunteers, we’re making massive progress on the clear-up and strip-out.

“The challenges will come with the reinstatement of the roof and all the mechanical and electrical infrastructure.”

 

Marie Dixon worked in the executive staff canteen for 30 years and now comes with her husband to clear the rubbish from the site.

“I went into the building three weeks ago and I was heartbroken, sorry that I went in and saw it because I’ve got lots of lovely memories there,” she said.

“Now all I’ve got is what it is today. But it will get back to what it was, I’m sure.”

 

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Shotton Steelworks and volunteers want to preserve its history as well as create skills for the next generation.

Mr Davis said the steelworks had been “foundational” to his career and those of so many other apprentices.

“Everybody in my year has gone on to do equally as well, so as a foundation, I’ve got a lot of gratitude for this place.”

 

Far from being an obstacle, the coronavirus pandemic has meant more volunteers “who’ve wanted things to do”, according to Vicki Roskams, CEO of the Enbarr Foundation

And the project is being supported by Tata, which is providing archive photos and drawings of what the building used to look like.

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