I met with Kerrie Page at mima’s office where we discussed the possibilities of organising an event – a story telling evening. It would be an opportunity to meet with a local historian, the oldest family of Middlesbrough, two poets and members of the local walking group. I am very interested in uncovering social and industrial history of the area, I have recently met with Ray Mallon, and I am interested in exploring something he said about local people, having quite hard exteriors but underneath soft and generous.
Next I visited one of the oldest foundry in Teesside. At one time there were about 140 Foundries in the Middlesbrough district, William Lane is the only one still operating today.
Founded in 1862 by 3 Lanes that all lived on Smith Street Stockton; William Lane described as a ‘Brass finisher’, John Lane a ‘Brass Moulder’ and James Lane a ‘Blacksmith’. The original Foundry was located on Middle Street, Stockton.
In 1907 the business relocated to the current site on Forty Foot Road, Middlesbrough. The new site was in the heartland of the Iron & Steel making district of north Middlesbrough, and many of these nearby businesses were everyday customers for what was described as a ‘breakdown & jobbing foundry’.
A new foundry building was constructed on site in 1939, the original foundry is now used as a store for patterns. This is a brick building with 7 coke furnaces in the floor, these were still used (though only occasionally) until 2001.
The company remained in the Lane family until 1976, when it was sold to neighbouring Steel Business, Parson & Crosland, and descendant Roy Lane remained with the company until 1984. John Webb was appointed General Manager of the company when it was taken over, and in that year he took on Stuart Duffy and Dave Stuart as 15 year old apprentices, Stuart is now a Director and shareholder of William Lane and remains ably supported by Dave.
Myself and Claire had the pleasure of meeting with Stuart Duffy and Dave Stuart and very much hope to work with them on my project.