Biggleswade Foundry

former Foundry at Saffron Road PNL-150206-104012001
former Foundry at Saffron Road PNL-150206-104012001

The Chronicle’s Memory Lane feature on November 29, 2014 featured ironmongers in Biggleswade including E. D. Fisher & Sons when the old Biggleswade foundry was also briefly mentioned.

E. D. Fisher, who traded in St Neots, purchased both the market square shop and the foundry in Foundry Lane, in 1904.

Map of Bonds and Foundry Lane PNL-150206-104025001

Map of Bonds and Foundry Lane PNL-150206-104025001

A sale of building materials was held by them on October 4, 1912 when the old foundry was pulled down.

The Biggleswade business was managed by Fisher’s son John (known as Jack) until his death in 1966 when he was succeeded by his own son Edward D. Fisher. Edward died in August 1976 and the business subsequently closed down on December 9, 1978.

Thomas Morton is listed as owning the foundry back in 1838. He was described in Pigots directory of 1839 as an ironmonger, whitesmith (someone who works with white metal, often tin) and blacksmith, iron founder and bell hanger. At this time, he had already converted the building into an iron foundry.

After the old foundry building was pulled down in 1912, it was replaced in around 1930 by an iron and steel warehouse on part of the site facing Saffron Road.

The 1823 Navigation Bridge PNL-150206-104037001

The 1823 Navigation Bridge PNL-150206-104037001

Morton & Kinman are credited with manufacturing iron bridges designed by Francis Giles, county surveyor, in 1823. The bridges were intended for use on the Ivel Navigation at the time it was extended from Holme Mills to Shefford. One, of possibly two navigation bridges that survives is the bridge at Holme Mills restored in 1990 at a cost of £130,000 and still carrying the date 1823. The 1823 bridge in Mill Lane was replaced in the 1970s.

Iron drain covers bearing the name Morton & Kinman and E. D. Fisher still exist in some old roads in the town centre.

The foundry building, now much altered, still remains and today is occupied by small units. It has had varied uses ranging from Biggleswade Frozen Foods, Abacus Office Supplies and The Learning Centre, Let’s Party, and is now The Old Curiosity Shop.

Photographs show a map of Foundry and Bonds Lane, the foundry buildings today and the 1823 Ivel Navigation Bridge,

History and photographs very kindly supplied by Ken Page of the Biggleswade History Society.