Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire

Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire

Scunthorpe is a town in the north of the county, an unparished area in the borough and unitary authority of North Lincolnshire with an estimated population of more than seventy two thousand residents.

A predominantly industrial town, it is the UK's largest steel processing centre and is sometimes known as the "Industrial Garden Town". It is the third largest settlement in Lincolnshire after Grimsby and Lincoln. The town lies on an escarpment of ridged land which slopes down towards the Trent. Although the town itself is heavily industrial it is surrounded by fertile farmland and wooded areas. It has a long history and appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Escumetorp, which is Old Norse for "Skuma's homestead", a site which is believed to be in the town centre close to where the present-day Market Hill is located.

The town lies on a rich bed of iron ore and limestone – crucial in the manufacturing of steel. It is believed that ironstone was mined in the area as early as the Roman occupation, although that is unproven. During the 19th century. iron ore was rediscovered by Rowland Winn on the land of his father, Charles, and this resulted in the development of an iron and steel industry and rapid population growth. Owing to the lack of a mainline railway the ore was transferred to a wharf at Gunness, initially by cart, by a narrow gauge railway, for distribution by barge or mainline rail from Keadby. Winn knew that the best way of exploiting the iron ore fields was for a rail link to be built from Keadby to Barnetby. He campaigned tirelessly for the link and construction work started in the mid 19th century with completion four years later.

Construction of Scunthorpe's first ironworks, the Trent Ironworks, began in 1862, with the first cast from the blast furnace being tapped on 26 March 1864. Other ironworks followed: building of the Frodingham Ironworks began in 1864; North Lincoln Ironworks in 1866; Redbourn Hill Iron & Coal Company in 1872; Appleby Ironworks blew in their first blast furnace in 1876; and the last constructed being Lysaght's Iron and Steelworks in 1911, with production starting in 1912. Rowland Winn is remembered in the town by three street names: Rowland Road, Winn Street and Oswald Road. He assumed the title Lord St Oswald in 1885.

Modern Scunthorpe is a busy, densely populated town with two major shopping centres: the covered Foundry Shopping Centre and the part-covered Parishes Centre. There are many well known retailers on the High Street although some have closed in recent times. There are major chain store supermarkets and access to the town can be made by train, bus, taxi and car and there are ample places to eat and drink.

Away from the retail crowds there is the Gainsthorpe Medieval Village, at Hibaldstow, one of the the best-preserved examples in England of a medieval village, managed by the English Heritage, and worth a visit. Open to the public for a pleasant afternoon is Scawby Gardens, three acres of walled Victorian garden. There is also the Dandi Lion Playzone, an air conditioned, multi-tiered soft play centre, providing a clean, safe, secure and stimulating play environment, catering for children from 0 - 12 years. And, ideal for the entire family, is The Pink Pig Farm, a working farm offering a great day out including The Family Farm Trail. There is also a farm shop brimming with local produce and a great coffee shop restaurant selling homemade lunches and snacks, cakes and cappuccinos.

Graham Taylor, former England football manager, is from Scunthorpe.