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Based on proximity of coal supplies, six well-marked regions of Britain have developed iron and steel industries.
1. South Wales: Since the World War II, South Wales has become the leading steel manufacturing district in Great Britain. The deposits of excellent coking coal in South Wales and ease of importing high grade iron-ore from Spain and Algeria have given unique opportunities for the expansion of this industry here. In volume of production these centres have now surpassed even the leading British steel centres of the Northeastern area. Among many steel centres here Newport, Cardiff, Port Talbot, Swansea and Llanelly are notable. The association of iron and steel industry with metal-smelting industries has given rise to the most famous of South Wales industries.
2. The North-east Coast on the Estuaries of Rivers Tyne Wear and Tees: This area is based on the coal fields on Northumberland and Durham. The most important steel manufacturing of this area lies in and around Middlesbrough on the estuary of the river Tees. The advantages for this area are the following:
(a) Lion-ore is obtained from the Cleveland hills.
(b) Excellent coking coal is obtained from South Durham.
(c) Limestone comes from Durham.
(d) The estuary ports permit easy import of iron ore and export of heavy steel goods.
The most modern blast furnaces and steel plant of Britain are found here. This area produces nearly one-fourth of nation's pig iron and steel. Based on the steel production of Middlesbrough, ship-building and heavy engineering industries have developed in a number of centres on the estuaries of the rivers. Notable centres are Newcastle, South Shields, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Stockton.
3. The Midland Valley of Scotland: Glasgow and nearby areas have developed considerable iron and steel industries depending on the local coalfields of the Clyde basin, and imported iron-ores from Spain and Sweden.
4. Furness District: Steel centres have developed on the coal fields of Lancashire and Cumberland. Iron-ore comes mainly from Spain. Barrow-in-Furness is the most important centre here.
5. Birmingham district: It is an inland location of steel industry developed on the coal fields of South Staffordshire and North Warwickshire. Originally it depended on local ore and local limestone, but now it depends more on imported pig and ore. In this area Birmingham is the chief steel manufacturing centre. Around it has developed many towns producing various iron and steel goods.
6. Sheffield District: Sheffield is noted for high grade steel production. 'Ibis area gets coal from the Yorkshire coal fields. High-grade iron-ore as imported from Sweden through the east coast port of Hull Further towards north, Leeds on the river Aire has important iron and steel works. Scunthorpe and Cor by are the two other steel centres of interior location.
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