The growth of Tow Law from a single building (Tow Law House) to a peak population of almost 5000 began in the mid 1800s with the beginning of Iron production, encouraged by the plentiful supply of iron ore in the area.
Six blast furnaces were built in the town by Charles Atwood founder of the Weardale Iron and Coal Company, fuelled by Coal from local Collieries such as Black Prince, Royal George, Old Thornley, Inkerman, Hedley Hope and West Edward. The coal was converted to coke for the blast furnaces by beehive coke ovens the remains of which can still be seen today.
Since the closure of the iron works in the late 1800s and the end of Coal production in the late 1960s the population has shrunk from a high of roughly 5000 people down to its present day level of just under 2000.
There are a number of online resources that give a good insight into the history of Tow Law including The Tow Law and District History Society,the Tow Law Past and Present Facebook Page and the Beehive Coke Ovens Facebook Page.