Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Last Bespoke Foundry in Town; Middlesbrough's Last Remaining Foundry Is Going Green. Kelley Price Finds out More

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Last Bespoke Foundry in Town; Middlesbrough's Last Remaining Foundry Is Going Green. Kelley Price Finds out More

Article excerpt

Byline: Kelley Price

TUCKED away in Middlesbrough's former iron and steelmaking heartland is the William Lane foundry. At the height of the Victorian Industrial Revolution, the area that's now Riverside Park was home to no less than 140 jobbing foundries.

William Lane is the last one standing.

It's celebrating 150 years, and to help it survive for many more, the company is cutting its carbon emissions.

Experts from Teesside University have been advising the company as part of the REPs - Resource Efficiency Pathways for Sustainable Growth - programme.

So how has William Lane survived when 139 others have fallen by the wayside? "Bespoke is a well-worn phrase - but we do a lot of it," says managing director Edward Bilcliffe.

"Our business is very flexible, we've a small number of employees and we can turn our hand to anything. We're a turn-it-around-quickly type of organisation, that's what we're good at.

"A lot of what we do is refurbishment work, and there's enough in that niche to keep us going."

The company counts SSI among its industrial clients - but was dealt a "major blow" when the steel plant closed.

"It was a huge plus when it came back online," Edward added, "it percolates right down the supply chain. "When it closed, we had to look at other things, broaden our net and get us out there.

"It's something that's easy to talk about and difficult to do.

"We did it - and the steel plant coming back on was the icing on the cake."

The company did a lot of work on the Tornado, the mainline steam locomotive built in Darlington from original drawings in 2008.

It's also worked for Beamish Museum on its replica of Puffing Billy and large bronze plaques with the names of all the soldiers that died in the Great War at Hartlepool's war memorial.

Designs from the foundry can be found scattered across Middlesbrough, from commemorative castings on the Transporter Bridge to the players' tunnel at the Riverside, the Dorman Museum and the town's train station. …

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