From Ironworks to a museum...
The Henrichshütte Iron and Steelworks was set up in 1854 and is perhaps the most famous steelworks in the region. Ore and coal were once mined here, coke, iron and steel produced, cast, rolled, forged and processed – all under a single roof.
Over 10,000 were employed in the iron and steelworks which has left a deep impression on the town, the landscape and the people in the Ruhrgebiet. The blast furnaces were finally blown out in 1987 and the last “fire over the Ruhr” died out with the closing of the forge in 2004. Now new firms have relocated here. The “Henrichspark”, as it is known, is characterised by production, development, services and leisure. The old Henrichshütte plant is a living symbol of how the iron and steel industry rose, flourished and declined, but also bears witness to the positive and negative aspects of structural transformation in the Ruhrgebiet.
Since 1989 the Westfalen-Lippe Regional Association (Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe) has been hard at work transforming the iron and steelworks into the German Iron and Steelworks Museum. Now the Westphalian Industrial Museum is in a position to present the history of iron, steel and the people who worked here. Our little mascot, the blue rat, will take children on Ratty’s Trail to sniff out the secrets of iron. Visitors who follow the Green Trail will be able to discover more about industrial nature - the flora and fauna which have grown up here as a result of industrial activity. And if you follow the Trail of Iron this will lead you to a lift to blast furnace number 3, the oldest blast furnace in the Ruhrgebiet. In the foundry house a film and interviews - and of course the location itself - will tell you more about how the workers braved the heat and fumes of the red-hot plant. The Trail of Iron leads via blast furnace number 3 to the foundry hall and the Trail of Steel with its blast engines, Thomas converter, forging hammer and rolling mill. Anyone who want to understand steel and iron has to take a trip to Hattingen.