THE planned closure of the Orb Electrical Steels plant in Newport will bring to an end a long history of steel production at the site, stretching back to 1898.

Metals magnate John Lysaght had already established his company, John Lysaght and Co., in England and Australia when the firm acquired land in Newport, to the east of the River Usk.

READ MORE: Newport steel plant to close, with loss of 380 jobs

The Orb steelworks opened in Newport in 1898, three year's after Lysaght's death, with the company transferring thousands of workers from its Wolverhampton base to fill the new site.

Whole streets were built to accommodate the new steelworkers, many of whom walked to Wales from the Midlands.

The Orb steelworks expanded rapidly, and in its heyday employed 3,000 workers.

When the First World War began, many of the Orb's steelworkers enlisted in the military – more than 800 signed up between August and December 1914.

By the conflict's end, 121 Orb workers had been killed, and a memorial to the fallen was later erected by the steelworks.

READ MORE: When Newport’s men of steel went to war

In 1920, John Lysaght and Co. was acquired by Guest Keen and Nettlefolds (GKN), though the Lysaght name was used until the 1960s.

In 1928, the W.R. Lysaght Institute was opened on Corporation Road, boasting huge lounges, a bar, skittle alley, and tennis courts.

The institute was a social hotspot for decades, providing workers and their families with a wide range of events and activities until its closure in 2001. The building has since been restored.

READ MORE: A look at the second jewel in Newport's crown – Lysaght Institute

Steel-rolling at the Orb was focused on the car industry for much of the 20th century, but in recent times a range of electrical metals has been produced at the Newport plant.

The Orb was run by British Steel, then Corus, and most recently its current owners, Tata Steel.

Tata tried to find a buyer for the facility in 2018, but the failure to do so now means the firm will close the Orb.