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The Old Foundry

A Grade II* Listed Building in Stourbridge, Dudley

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Latitude: 52.4608 / 52°27'38"N

Longitude: -2.1564 / 2°9'23"W

OS Eastings: 389469

OS Northings: 284770

OS Grid: SO894847

Mapcode National: GBR 1BY.MNF

Mapcode Global: VH91H.KDVX

Plus Code: 9C4VFR6V+8C

Entry Name: The Old Foundry

Listing Date: 8 March 1983

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1262873

English Heritage Legacy ID: 433921

Location: Wollaston and Stourbridge Town, Dudley, DY8

County: Dudley

Electoral Ward/Division: Wollaston and Stourbridge Town

Built-Up Area: Stourbridge

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Wollaston

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

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(North side)
The Old Foundry


Iron Foundry. 1820-21, with later additions and alterations including lean-tos c1960s. Designed by John Urpeth Rastrick for Foster, Rastrick and Company (formerly John Bradley and Company). Reddish-brown brick in irregular English Garden Wall bond (3 rows of stretchers to one row of headers) with hipped slate roof, the apex to centre now perspex. Georgian style. Single tall storey described to exterior as 2 storeys, north (front facade) of 7 bays, arranged 3:3:3:1:3:3:3 of which the centre is a full-height, wide, round-arched opening; otherwise round-arched windows to first and ground floors throughout, three per bay (two pairs of windows to ground floor at centre have been widened). Each bay is articulated by full-height plain pilasters, which also clasp angles; the central 3 bays have wide pediment with large oculus; continuous dentil cornice and stepped eaves. Returns (east and west), alike: 3 bays articulated by pilaster strips. To first floor are two round-arched openings to each bay; ground floor has large round-arched recesses to each bay, one to each side is open, one with clear surround of semi-circular opening, now blocked. Rear (south facade)has nine bays articulated by pilaster strips. Alternating rhythms of one and two round-arched, first-floor openings to each bay with alternating round- and wide, cambered-arched recesses to ground floor, that to centre is open for access. Windows: several window openings to front facade retain original round-arched, multi-pane wrought-iron glazing bars in imitation of 8/8 sash windows with radial glazing to heads, however these were never intended to be glazed. INTERIOR: This is remarkably intact. The roof has six massive, cambered cast-iron beams spanning the width of the building; the two end bays formed by these beams each have two cast-iron beams placed diagonally across the corners. All are connected by wrought-iron tie-bars running east-west, north-south and diagonally. A further tier of horizontal wrought-iron tie-bars, connects diagonally and vertically to the first. Towards the west end of the building is an iron cross-piece, which formed the top centre for a crane. The roof is an example of an early type of fire-proof construction. The north elevation has three cast-iron crane supports. At ground-floor level are the remains of core oven hoods. Hinges and partial remains of oven doors remain to one bay. The lean-tos to front and rear do not appear to much affect the fabric of the original building.
Historical Note:
The Stourbridge Ironworks originally traded as John Bradley and Company. Following Bradley's death (1816) a new partnership was formed in 1819 between James and William Foster and the engineer, John Rastrick (a specialist in engine design) who proceeded to design the new foundry building. The works were described in 1821 by Joshua Field as, The largest and most complete of any in this part of the county and perhaps the most so of any in England'. He particularly noted the roof, in which the tie beams are of cast iron, the rafters cast iron & all the braces etc. round wrought iron bolts very well contrived'. Each tie-beam could be adapted to fit a crane, The centre of each tie beam has a boss adapted to receive a crane post, diagonal braces from these centres running all through the roof'. Earl comments, By 1821 the Stourbridge Ironworks had become a very large and complex concern, (with) over 450 employees'. Rastrick was using processes for utilising waste heat from furnaces here some seven years before patenting the process. Earl considers that between 1820 and 1882 the foundry was reorganised and the core ovens and hoods installed. The building has been in continuous use as an iron foundry since 1821. The first locomotive to run in the Americas, the Stourbridge Lion, was engineered here.
Sources: Jeff Earl, The Stourbridge Ironworks -`Evolution of an industrial site', University of Birmingham/Ironbridge Institute Master's thesis, November 1996.

Listing NGR: SO8946984770

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