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Thread: The Valley Foundry, March 2019

  1. #1
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    Default The Valley Foundry, March 2019


    1. The History
    The company dates back to just after the second world war when the iron founding operation specialised in making cast iron pipes for the water industry. In 1950 the foundry was acquired by new owners with the aim of supply castings to their railway wagon building business. A management buy-out followed in 1984, only for the company to close in 2002. Bought by new owners, they incorporated it in 2002. However in early 2014 it ran into financial difficulties after it lost a contract worth 70 per cent of its turnover.

    After this, the company struggled to find enough work for its 16 employees, which included three directors. Even dropping its price failed to bring in new business and the company was further hit by foreign competition.

    After it went into liquidation the receivers did a very good job managing to pay creditors 60p in the pound. Since then the works have been left abandoned.

    2. The Explore
    Met up with Bikin Glynn for this one (great to explore with you sir!). Big up to Mikeymutt for Intel. Hasn't seen many explorers this place, though there were several familiar names of the guest-board (see picture below). Access was easy and it turned out to be a fascinating and relaxed wander. The site is split in two with the old wooden pattern store and older brick buildings one side of a railway bridge and the main factory where most of the operations took place, the other. Plenty to see and left in situ. Really enjoyed the brightly coloured patterns and the rusty industrial machinery. So, overall, a very pleasurable way to spend an hour or so exploring in the spring sun.

    3. The Pictures

    Ivy-clad building on the way:

    img0025 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The first thing that comes into view is the old wooden pattern shed:

    img0023 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The first of many colourful patterns:



    img9945 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9946 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Tatty head. Lol.

    img9947 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More patterns:

    img9949 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9950 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9951 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Can you tell this was my fave bit?

    img9958 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9959 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9963 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Think this was my favourite casting:

    img9964 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    On to the old buildings nearby. This has fallen into disuse before the main factory closed.

    img9968 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9969 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More castings:

    img9971 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Nature taking over:

    img9982 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Inside looking out:

    img9972 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This bit was on its way out:

    img9974 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Love this shelving made out of old (WWII?) stretchers:

    Valley Foundry 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9977 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9978 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9979 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    On to the main factory:

    img9985 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0003 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Big hook!

    img9986 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some serious gear here:

    img9990 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Love the ornateness of these patterns:

    img0004 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Shame this plaque didn’t find a home:

    img0005 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Those that went before us. A few familiar names here

    Valley Foundry 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A few manuals:

    img0012 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0013 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The heavy stuff:

    img0015 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    Valley Foundry 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some sort of hopper:

    img0017 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Upstairs store room. Now reusing of old railway sleepers for the flooring!

    img9995 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9996 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9997bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9999 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Valley Foundry 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr
    Last edited by HughieD; 4th Apr 19 at 23:10.

  2. Thanks given by: Ferox, Hugh Jorgan, jmcjnr, Mikeymutt, mookster, psykie, Rolfey, Sausage, smiler, Steve Lewis, Tigershark
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  4. #2
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    Excellent, theres still bits I missed, didnt see them books!
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikinGlynn View Post
    Excellent, theres still bits I missed, didnt see them books!
    Thank you. And likewise mate - was a great place and great mooch!

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    Very nice that mate. Looks untouched. Some nice nature ingress also.

  8. Thanks given by: HughieD
  9. #5
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    This place, along with a handful of others, is one of my favourite small scale British industry spots I've explored. Good to see nothing much has changed there either.
    My Flickr

    Pseudomerican

  10. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Beautifully, Loved it,Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

  12. Thanks given by: HughieD
  13. #7
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    I'd guessed at machine castings in the other thread and yes - several shapes and words caught my eye. Tilting table for example. Many shapes of patterns resemble shaping machines, lathes and mills. It does make sense because cast iron based and machined on surfaces to mate with other castings. There are also large valve bodies like the ones you see carrying water or even fuel at refineries.
    I still say the patterns should be saved but at the end of it all - who'd want them? Museums throw loads away these days. Perhaps the patterns could be saved and used as ornamental pieces in those expensive pubs? I dunno but they do have some real history to them.

    Literature and other bits of paperwork. Awesome.
    At Grove Rake mine someone left doors open and sheep wandered in for shelter. Long story short all of the paperwork ended on the floor and sheep poop then layered on top - about 2 inches thick. Someone found a piece of the paperwork and got rummaging (sorry I know - gross) and realised the importance of it all. They took all of the dirty papers home and one by one cleaned them and dried them correctly. They're now in a database at Nenthead.
    I call that dedication!!
    Full of meaty goodness.

  14. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    The remains of a small bankrupt company, which is an all too common sight in the UK - They made the whole of their eventual survival dependant on one contract and when their price was undercut by another foundry; they had no option, but to file for bankruptcy. Patterns like this were probably the most common surviving relic of the British manufacturing industries. When I was in my early 20's, the pattern shop stores of a number of Sheffield Companies were full of patterns dating back to Victorian times. Being relatively light and made of wood, they were easily disposed off - as an industrial placement in the summer of 1963, during my Chemical Engineering sandwich course revealed. Needing more laboratory space to house a new X-ray Fluorescent analysis machine, the firm converted an old pattern storeroom and me and my other two sandwich course mates, tended a rather large bonfire one afternoon!

  16. Thanks given by: HughieD, Sausage
  17. #9
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    A great set there hughie..it's such a quaint place ain't it.with some lovely remains.glad you enjoyed it
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

  18. Thanks given by: HughieD
  19. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mookster View Post
    This place, along with a handful of others, is one of my favourite small scale British industry spots I've explored. Good to see nothing much has changed there either.
    It's a fab place innit? Let's hope it stays that way Mook.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeymutt View Post
    A great set there hughie..it's such a quaint place ain't it.with some lovely remains.glad you enjoyed it
    Cheers mate, it is. Thank your for the heads up.

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