BOOTH AND BROOKES FOUNDRY

Booth and Brookes foundry was started in 1899 by James Booth surviving until 1981 when the foundry business was no longer viable. 

The site of the old foundry in Foundry Lane, Burnham on Crouch is now a builders yard, shops and Fiveways Supermarket.

The story of the foundry has been fully documented in a splendid little book called The foundry at Burnham by John Booth, who is a descendant of the founder.

The foundry was sited at a location which could profit from imports of pig iron and coke by barges to the nearby Quay and easy access to the Crouch Valley Railway Line which ran alongside the foundry.

part of the old foundry remains converted into shops and offices

After a few years the foundry found a niche market and specialised in making Piano frames which requires specialised casting.

The initial power source of a steam engine was then replaced by a gas engine which included enough spare power to produce some lights into the previously unlit factory.

By 1912 two trains per days plus occasional specials were required to service the foundry bring raw materials in and taking the castings away to customers.

During World War 1 the works continued to produce piano frames but also made casings for hand grenades and practice shells.

After the war the factory found a new product - Turntables for  a new invention - gramophones.

1920 saw a new power source in that a large oil engine was fitted which powered the machines and provided electric lighting for the factory.

Work continued successfully until World War 2 when the foundry was under the control of the board of Trade and only a few piano frames were authorised. The main work was the production of the domes to house top secret asdic devices to locate submarines. Other items including secondary fuel tanks for aircraft and armaments were made in the factory.

After the war production of piano frames and other specialised casting recommenced with gradually increasing problems caused by modern production methods until in 1981 a receiver was appointed who closed the foundry at Burnham 

 

I am grateful to the book by John Booth which provided the inspiration and to Paddy Booth and Bob Cole for fascinating stories of old Burnham that have contributed to this and other pages.

 

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