Canada photo BESCO steel furnace Sydney Cape Breton Nova Scotia c.1927

$50.00 CAD

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Large photo of upper furnaces at British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO) steel and coal complex at Sydney on Cape Breton.

On back written:

Hauts fourneaux a Sydney Cap Breton (overwritten “--- Northfield Ecosse”)
#16674 M

Comes from the estate of a French collector who died in 1940s.

Paper is curved.

18 x 23.50  cm // 7 ¼” x 9 ¼’

(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photo for sale)


British Empire Steel Corporation

In 1921, SCOTIA was merged with the conglomerate to form the British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO).

The scope and scale of BESCO was truly mind-boggling. In addition to its coal mines and steel mills operating as a complete monopoly across the entire Sydney Coal Field, BESCO also operated coal mines, steel mills and foundries in the Pictou Coal Field in Trenton, New Glasgow, Stellarton and Westville, as well as North America's deepest coal mines in Springhill, Nova Scotia, and iron mines in Bell Island, Newfoundland. It also operated several industrial railways and various shipping ports throughout the province

...As a result, BESCO's investors pressured management to force many difficult working conditions in order to achieve higher production from its workforce. This resulted in unprecedented labour unrest and militancy which would forever transform Industrial Cape Breton.

Profits fell and coal and steel markets were declining throughout the 1920s as North America's industrial and consumer practices changed. BESCO management tried to desperately save the company, however bitter strikes by workers, culminating in widespread social and civil unrest in 1925, saw BESCO slip further into debt.

I..n 1928 a new holding company called Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation was formed as a holding company by McNaught and various BESCO investors. In May 1930 BESCO was dissolved and the new company took over its industrial properties.