Under the hammer of the demolisher in 1939, the sole remaining link with a one time thriving industry disappeared. The old candle-works at Bedlington had to make way for the new approach road to the proposed new bridge over the River Blyth near Bedlington Furnace.
Like all buildings of it’s kind the Bedlington Candle-works was not without an interesting history. The candle-making industry was in former years one of the “Terrier Towns” most prominent industries.
The first man to manufacture candles there was a gentleman called “Barnes.” He did not employ any assistance, but in the year 1886, the works were taken over by two local public men. Up to that time only the tallow candles of bye-gone days were produced as there were no machines for making the wax type.
The method of making tallow candles was laborious. One wick had to be dipped and the tallow was then allowed to harden for about 20 minutes before the candle became the finished product which the housewife knew.
After two years under the new ownership four machines for the making of wax candles were installed and the works were then a scene of great activity.
Disaster, however, overtook it’s development. In the month of February, 1888, the building was gutted by fire and practically destroyed. But the industry of candle-making was not allowed to languish and the works were rebuilt in July of the same year and new machines were installed.
Then followed the tale of progressive development. In the course of the next few years the output of the works became so great that the number of machines had to be increased from four to sixteen. Each machine was then turning out over 100 candles in 20 minutes.
Bedlington became noted for the candles it produced and while many were sold to local stores, large quantities were sent to Scotland, and Yorkshire.
Twelve men were employed in two shifts, but with the introduction of acetylene lamps in the mines the demand began to slacken and the output at the candle-works grew less.
Candles were also made at Bedlington in a small wooden hut on the bank top at about the same period. They were manufactured on these premises by George Graham and Thomas Bedford, who had three machines. This business too, developed to such an extent that new premises were occupied at the Warren Head, Bedlington Furnace, where the old Bedlington Iron-works were situated.
So, the last link of a once flourishing industry vanished from the landscape, obliterated by the march of progress.