In 1875 Arthur Dorman and Albert de Laude Long formed a company which would develop to provide many great engineering structures in the world, including some – such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge – which have become synonymous with towns, cities and even countries.
Arthur Dorman was from Kent. Albert de Lande Long was from East Anglia. Both had moved to Stockton on Tees and were involved in the iron industry.
In 1875, Dorman and Long went into partnership, taking over an existing plant, the West Marsh ironworks, Middlesbrough, initially manufacturing iron bars and angles for shipbuilding.
During the 1880s they exploited the new steel making technologies being introduced at that time including use of Open hearth furnaces. Together they built a large industrial concern, Dorman Long, which by 1914 employed 20,000 people and during the World War I was a major supplier of shells.
In the late 1920s the company took over the concerns of Bell Brothers and Bolckow, Vaughan and Co and became involved in bridge-building.
The company became internationally successful and was once listed on the Stock Exchange.
In 1967 Dorman Long was nationalised, along with 13 other British steel-making firms, becoming subsumed into the government-owned British Steel Corporation. In 1982 Redpath Dorman Long, the engineering part of the business, was acquired by Trafalgar House who in 1990 merged it into Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company in Darlington.
In 2000 there was a management buyout of Cleveland Bridge which led to the formation of Dorman Long Technology (DLT) in August 2000.
DLT was formed as an amalgamation of the Cleveland Bridge engineering office with an outside construction consultant (Lowther-Rolton) and a heavy lift contractor (Zalcon), both of whom had been working closely with Cleveland Bridge throughout the 1990s. DLT is now an independent company, registered in the UK, carrying out bridge design and construction engineering together with design and supply of heavy lifting equipment for the construction of bridges, refineries, power stations, wind farms, offshore drilling rigs, large roofs and other large pre-assembled structures.
In 2015 the former Dorman Long Steel plant on Teesside ceased production after SSI mothballed the Redcar works.
Arthur Dorman stood as the Conservative candidate for Cleveland, was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1918a, and was created a baronet of Nunthorpe in the County of York on 21 July 1923.
Dorman married Clara Lockwood in 1873 and together they had four sons and three daughters.His youngest son George Lockwood Dorman was killed in the Second Boer War, and is commemorated in the Dorman Museum.
Sir Arthur Dorman died in 1931 at Grey Towers, his home in Nunthorpe near Middlesbrough.
Prior to being the founder of a major engineering company, Albert de Lande Long had been a very successful amateur rower. He was a member of the London Rowing Club, won the Wingfield Sculls in 1869 and 1870, won the Silver Goblets at Henley Royal Regatta with William Stout in 1869, and again with Francis Gulston in 1871, 1872 and 1874. Long married Susanna Kelso at Knaresborough in 1875. Their son also Albert de Lande Long rowed in the Boat Race for Cambridge. Long died at Northallerton on 23 February 1917.
The name ‘Dorman Long’ can be found all over the world on steel structures.
In the first half of the twentieth century Dorman Long constructed many famous bridges including the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932), the Tyne Bridge (1928, UK), the Tees Newport Bridge (1934, UK) and the Omdurman Bridge (1926, Sudan).
Possibly the most famous bridge in the world, the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, was constructed by Dorman Long in 1932.
Contrary to popular belief, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was not modelled on the Tyne Bridge, swhich spans the Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead and is regarded as the symbol of Tyneside’s Geordie pride. However, that bridge, completed in 1928, is also a product of Dorman Long’s Teesside workmanship.
Completed two years before the Tyne Bridge, the Omdurman Bridge (also known as the Redemption Bridge or the Old White Nile Bridge) is a steel truss bridge in Sudan on the road connecting Khartoum on the White Nile to Omdurman. It is 613 meters long and is supported by seven pairs of round pillars.
The greatest example of Dorman Long’s work in Teesside itself is the single span Newport Lifting Bridge (a Grade II Listed Building). Opened by the Duke of York in February 1934 it was England’s first vertical lift bridge. With a lifting span of 270 feet (82 m) long by 66 feet (20 m) wide, it is constructed from 8000 tons of Teesside steel and 28,000 tons of concrete with towers 182 feet (55 m) high. The electrically operated lifting mechanism allowed the road to be lifted 100 feet (30 m) in one and a half minutes by means of ropes passing through sheaves in the four corner towers. Newport Bridge is no longer raised or lowered; it is now an immovable road bridge crossing the River Tees.
Suggested Places to Visit:
The Newport Bridge, Middlesbrough / Stockton
The Tyne Bridge, Newcastle / Gateshead
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
The Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough
Grey Towers, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough