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Name:Former Union Iron Foundry, City Rd, Derby
HER No.:32079
Type of Record:Building
Designation:None recorded


Iron foundry built 1877-91, on the site of a previous foundry established in 1822; now an engineering works

Grid Reference:SK 353 372

Monument Types

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events: None recorded

Full Description

Shown on the 1st ed. 25" OS map of c. 1880 with a travelling-crane to the west (1). The later map of 1901 shows that the works had extended northwards, but the travelling-crane was still in situ (2).

Impressive brick frontage of 34 bays with ornamental details to façade and cornice and tall, round-headed cast-iron window frames. The present building is Haslam's 1890 factory which was the successor to two earlier versions of the Union Foundry which have now both gone. The original Union Foundry was established by Joseph Falconer in 1822. Haslams built their first version of the foundry in 1877 but this was superseded by the present impressive buildings. Haslams were renowned for their pioneer role in the development of refrigeration techniques and by 1890 were described as 'specialist refrigeration engineers, ironfounders, engineers, millwrights and boiler makers'. In 1939 the factory was sold to an American company E W Bliss which specialised in making cans using hydraulic presses. In recent years it became Aida Engineering with the rear premises let off as small industrial units. (3)

Union Iron Foundry, City Road. Originally established by William Peach and Edward Falconer in 1822, the site was located upstream from the Fox factory to the south. In 1844 the partnership was dissolved with Peach retaining the Union Foundry until 1858, when the Fox brothers bought him out. Fox lace machinery became celebrated, and it was supplied largely to the neighbouring town of Nottingham. Fox lathes also had a high reputation, and machinery was exported to France, Russia and Mauritus. In 1868 Alfred Searle Haslam bought the Union Foundry from the Fox estate and set up the Haslam Foundry and Engineering Company. A major fire in 1873 destroyed much of the foundry, which was quickly rebuilt. In 1876 the Great Northern Railway bought land from Derby borough to lay a route through Little Chester, and in 1877 Haslam was able to buy 2.2 acres on City Road between the Union Foundry and the new railway. A new foundry was laid out partly on the old site and partly on this new plot. The foundry was twice extended northwards, the final expansion north to abut the GNR line taking place in 1891 with an extension of 44 bays. The factory specialised in refrigeration machinery for use in ships, a process pioneered by Haslam. The Haslam refrigerator was to become on the of the most vital inventions of the 19th century, facilitating the expansion of the meat trade with Australia, America and new Zealand. (4)

Sources and Further Reading

[1]SDR18789 - Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). Sheet L.9.
[2]SDR18790 - Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1896-1900. OS County Series, 2nd edition (1st revision), scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). Sheet L.9, 1901.
[3]SDR19527 - Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 2003. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part VII. City of Derby.. p 12.
[4]SDR20001 - Unpublished document: Bocock, S (ULAS). 2006. An Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment for a Proposed Residential Development at the Former Bristol Street Motors, Alfreton Road, Chester Green, Derby.