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Looking for foundry in Bolton area

Where's Derek?

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Grindstone Cowboy04/09/2020 11:58:49
343 forum posts
27 photos

Hi

A long shot, but asking this question on behalf of a friend who is restoring a Victorian property. He needs some cast iron railings making to match the existing ones. Quite a few years ago when doing a similar job he used a supplier in the Bolton, Lancashire area, but cannot recall any contact details apart from the fact it was a one-man operation, and that the one man was possibly called Derek.

Has anyone any ideas as to Derek's whereabouts and if he is still in business?

Failing that, suggestions for a foundry that could produce railings somewhere in the North West would be appreciated.

Apologies in advance, but I will not be able to reply to anyone until late on Sunday.

Many thanks,

Rob

pgk pgk04/09/2020 13:04:00
1911 forum posts
288 photos

Curiosity led me to sticking cast iron railings into google.. a number of hits with This

claiming to stock most regional variations and prepared for special cases.Google map also throws up a number of smiths and forges.

pgk

mgnbuk04/09/2020 13:04:55
800 forum posts
61 photos

Huddersfield isn't that far from Bolton - if that is close enough then there is H Downs Foundry on Leed Road link

The contact I had there was Nigel Downs, but it is many years since I used them for my last employment. Nigel Downs was about my age (I'm 60 now) so he probably won't have retired yet - the company is still there.

Some years ago there was a TV recreation of how the original iron bridge at Ironbridge was erected - Downs Foundry did the scale castings for the project, with Nigel Downs being actively engaged & they cast the parts as they would have been done originally.

Nigel B.

Ady104/09/2020 13:37:39
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3859 forum posts
522 photos

If you have some of the originals it shouldn't be hard to copy them

I have noticed that with Beaverbrooks WW2 railings choppy down program in Edinburgh there was always a single original left in place, so the missing chunk could be copied and refabricated in the future

Bo'sun04/09/2020 14:30:25
202 forum posts

Such a shame many, many of our foundries are just history now.

Craig Brown 204/09/2020 14:46:21
26 forum posts
8 photos

JW Longbottom just outside Huddersfield is one I am aware of. They specialise in rainwater and soil items but I have looked through their catalogue and they do a wide variety of items and also do one offs apparently. I have never used them, an eye watering quote was as far as I got, but might be useful for others, as has been mentioned there aren't many left doing this sort of work

Brian Wood05/09/2020 09:56:33
2269 forum posts
37 photos

Leach and Thompson in Keighley

Their website says they will supply one-off castings

Mick Miller used to be the name to speak to, but that information is now rather old

Brian

duncan webster05/09/2020 11:19:35
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2795 forum posts
41 photos

There's a foundry up near Haigh Hall in Wigan, JTE Castings

**LINK**

I've used them a couple of times, very helpful. They showed me some photos of a bandstand they had done, sounds like your kind of thing

SillyOldDuffer05/09/2020 11:38:57
Moderator
6322 forum posts
1384 photos
Posted by Craig Brown 2 on 04/09/2020 14:46:21:

JW Longbottom just outside Huddersfield is one I am aware of. They specialise in rainwater and soil items but I have looked through their catalogue and they do a wide variety of items and also do one offs apparently. I have never used them, an eye watering quote was as far as I got, but might be useful for others, as has been mentioned there aren't many left doing this sort of work

Once thousands of small foundries doing basic casting work in the UK. Wasn't difficult for them to add an amateur job to a pour, technically or commercially.

Unfortunately not much demand for basic cast-iron these days. The market has moved on. Jobbing foundries must still exist, but most are long gone. I don't suppose there's one within a 70 mile radius of me. LBSC probably had 3 or 4 within walking distance.

My nearest foundry is a high-tech operation. From the outside it's not obvious that the Works is a foundry, and you can't walk in off the street. They do aerospace and automotive production runs using centrifugal casting and other advanced techniques. Top-quality work, a far cry from a couple of blokes in flat caps shovelling coke and scrap into a backyard furnace and pouring molten metal into sand-moulds, who could sneak in an extra casting for the cost of a pint.

The problem with modern foundries is there's no profit in knocking out a couple of cheap castings for passing trade. Although technically advanced the set-up costs are high compared with yesteryear. Excellent value if the customer wants a few thousand high-quality castings, scary expensive for hobbyists who only want one!

If anyone knows of a foundry taking on model-style casting work at reasonable prices, please let the forum know. I'm sure there must some about because the big boys turn away small work.

Dave

Bo'sun06/09/2020 08:59:20
202 forum posts

Might be worth thinking about the foundry at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Telford.

Brian Oldford06/09/2020 10:01:36
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684 forum posts
18 photos
Posted by Bo'sun on 06/09/2020 08:59:20:

Might be worth thinking about the foundry at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Telford.

For some years I've used Roger and Noel several times satisfactorily for simple stuff. They have little control of the iron spec and are not really geared up to deal with cored work. I go to Wolverhampton or Dudley for anything a little involved..

Edited By Brian Oldford on 06/09/2020 10:02:58

Bazyle06/09/2020 10:19:23
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5464 forum posts
206 photos

On your afternoon stroll today take a note of the names on the cast iron manhole covers, the older ones. Chances are it was a local company now closed. At EDMES a few years ago we had a talk from a descendant of one such family firm that operated in Exeter. The cupola furnace for the quite large factory they were was only about 10 ft high and 15 in diameter, and part of the height was just to get the tapping point high enough to fill the ladle. The firm had started casting at the back of their ironmongers shop in the high street, a stone's throw from the cathederal.

Grindstone Cowboy06/09/2020 14:01:07
343 forum posts
27 photos

Many thanks to all who have replied, I will pass on all leads to my friend. The mention of eye-wateringly expensive quotes is, I believe, something he has already discovered. His last lot of railings were about £2000, and a quote he has received so far is for more than ten times that amount.

Thanks again for your help, just goes to prove how helpful and knowledgeable the folk are on here.

I will feed back any information if he does find a helpful foundry.

Rob

Grindstone Cowboy17/09/2020 21:02:47
343 forum posts
27 photos

Just to close this conversation off, he has decided to go with JTE Castings, as suggested by Duncan. It seems the expensive part is getting the patterns made - the part he needs is a curved rail to fit a particular set of entrance steps, so it's pretty much a custom item.

Thanks again to all.

Rob

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