Railway tracks, which transported goods from Invicta Merchant Bar Ltd to Coal Washer Wharf, are in the process of being taken up
Bulldozers have moved in to dismantle the former home of one of the Island’s best-known employers.
Invicta Merchant Bar, formerly known as Queenborough Rolling Mill, closed in February with the loss of nearly 80 jobs.
The Rushenden Road plant had been used to re-roll used rail track and equipment since the mid-1970s.
The derelict land has been acquired for housing, with 125 properties earmarked for the brownfield site.
As well as the plant itself being knocked down, railway tracks for transporting stock between the mill and a breaker’s depot at Coal Washer Wharf by the Swale, is in the process of being taken up.
Keith Hitchings, 59, from Manor Road, Rushenden, said the demolition signalled the end of an era.
He said: “It’s a little bit of history disappearing. Old British Rail wagons and railway lines used to be taken to Coal Washer Wharf to be broken up and transported to the rolling mill to be turned into reinforcement bars which were put inside concrete.
“The bars would be taken away by lorry or sent back to the wharf to be shipped around the world.”
In December last year, 56 jobs were lost as the mill’s Russian owner, Mechel Steel, made the decision to stop production.
Rising electricity, gas and environmental costs were blamed for the decision.
Twenty-two staff were kept on to dispatch the remaining finished material.
Mr Hitchings, a retired Royal Mail worker, said “Now the mill’s gone, I only hope the area isn't left derelict for too long.
“I was sad to see it go, and quite a few people I know worked there.
“It was a blow for the whole community when it went. But
if something positive comes from it, its loss won’t have been in vain.”