The steel works in the '60s
In the early 1960’s Orb works was supplying some 60% of all the electrical steel used in the British Steel electrical industry.
On the 28th of July 1967 the steel industry was nationalised for a second time. This saw the creation of British Steel Corporation, which took all major steel plants in the UK into its charge.
Disaster strikes at Orb
"A major disaster struck the works in June 1968. During the evening of 18th of June, while the men were rolling steel in No. 1 Mill, it caught fire and because both this and the No.2 Mill shared common outlet flue, the flames spread immediately into the other Mill. The electrical wiring and lubricating system caught fire and the flames engulfed nearby oil drums, causing them to explode" Stephen Berry
Lysaght Institute in the 1960s
In the 1960’s the Lysaght Institute was still used as community hub for the steel workers and families. It saw weddings, events and parties held in the Ballroom. The Ballroom looked quite different to how it does today.
Kath Comerford - A barmaid at the 'Stute in the 1960s
“My nan, Kath Comerford, used to be a barmaid there at Lysaght many famous people she met there from comedy acts to bands and a few actors. If she were around now she'd tell you few stories. My father, Dennis Champion, was a compere at Lysaght Institute many years ago. We all as children remember the Christmas parties and having a present off Santa. I had my wedding evening party there also back in 1968, a beautiful building full of lovely memories for many orb workers and their families” Julie Berrow
Music in the 1960s
In the 1960s, music styles had changed and the venue was used to host live 60s band nights. The Interns, a local Newport band, played there along with several other local bands.
Watch a short documentary about The Interns here.
“I saw some cracking groups there in the 60s... Tony Hillman and the Hurricanes, The Vikings, Ricky Ford and the Crossfires, The Interns” Desmond Morgan
Mods & Rockers
Music styles became even more divided in the '60s with both the Mods & Rockers having their own unique brands of music
Dancing at Lysaght was as popular as ever in the 1960s. Margaret Skobel, Grandmother to Helen Jones who works at Lysaght Institute today, talks about having to go dancing at Lysaght Institute with her husband despite feeling quite unwell.
The circus comes to Lysaght
Many people we spoke to remember a circus coming to Lysaght grounds, with live animals.
“There used to be a circus in the late 50s, early 60s in the car park with lions and tigers.” Jack Black
Monkey Island gets sold
In the 1960s, 23 acres of Lysaght and steelworks land were sold, including Monkey Island that was once a popular place for children of the steelworkers and locals to play. It is unknown who now owns Monkey Island. It has recently been proposed as a site for conservation to protect local wildlife.
Social Life at the Orb Works & Lysaght Institute
During the 1950s and 1960s a flourishing Amateur Dramatics Society was active at the 'Stute. Their first venture was a trio of One-Act plays, performed at the Lysaght Institute on the 15th of March 1954. They continued to perform well into the 1960s at the Lysaght Institute and entered drama festivals.
Lysaght Sailing Club
A sailing club was set up in 1962
Lysaght Golf Club
The golf club was set up in the 1960s. A match between Newport Tinplate Division and Port Talbot Division and Head Office teams was reported in 1965.
Lysaght Car Club
A car club was formed in 1964. The object of the club was to encourage interest in motorcars in general with treasure hunts, rallies, lectures, discussions and social evenings, as well as visits to a major motor manufacturer.
“I remember the car club dances, chicken and chips and a chance to dress up!.” Susan Hodgkiss Watkins
“The Orb car club had a healthy membership and its own garage with a pit for repairs” Alan Coombs
Lysaght Cricket Team
Cricket was played since the setting-up of a cricket ground in the 1920s at Lysaght Institute.
"My two uncles were also mad cricketers. As you come over the bridge and bear left onto Corporation Road that was where the cricket pitch was. The pavilion was by the river. They would have nightmares if they turned up here now. ‘Where’s my cricket pitch gone...?' they’d say.” Jack Black
Lysaght Skittles Team
Skittles was a popular pastime at the 'Stute in the '60s
“My dad used to meet his friends there in the 60’s- I think they might have even played skittles on a Friday night"