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Report - Chamberlin & Hill Castings (S. Russell & Sons), Leicester - April 2017

AndyK

Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
#1
Formed in 1864 when Samuel Russell moved to Leicester from Loughborough, the brass and iron foundry based its head office, engineering and foundry operations on Bath Lane in Leicester. The company later became S. Russell & Sons when his two sons joined the firm in 1881.

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-50.jpg

As the company expanded, 1920 saw the opening of a further works in Bonchurch Street in the Woodgate area of Leicester. The Bonchurch Street foundry produced medium-sized castings, weighing 30-100kg primarily for the hydraulics and rail industries.

The Bonchurch Street foundry was taken over by Chamberlin & Hill Castings in 2004 and S. Russell & Sons were dissolved the following year. By 2016 demand for the products produced at the foundry had dwindled, and management announced it would be closing by the end of that year.

Furnaces
Starting where the raw materials and scrap metal arrive, the furnaces would melt it all down ready to be poured into moulds

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-25.jpg

The three electric furnaces

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-27.jpg

Looking across the furnaces with incoming scrap area to the right

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-28.jpg

The tiniest control room I've ever seen

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This rather nice control panel was set to one side of the furnaces

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-26.jpg

Inductotherm control panel

Casting and moulding
This is where the molten metal is cast in moulds

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-32.jpg

Floor mould for larger castings

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-31.jpg

Hand mould shop

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-31.jpg

Hand mould shop

Handling and Blast Cleaning
The next stage of the process is to cool and open up the moulds and then clean up the castings

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-24.jpg

Moving through to the handling area

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-8.jpg

Sand and dust processing

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-18.jpg

Hunter HV Turntable

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-17.jpg

Hunter HV mould handling machine

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-20.jpg

Hunter HV mould handling machine

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-15.jpg

Continuous Tumblast cleaning machine

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-13.jpg

Beside the CT3

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View towards offices

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Roller conveyors

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Roller conveyors with boxes for moving castings

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Roller conveyors with boxes for moving castings

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-11.jpg

A large area was dedicated to shotblasting

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-10.jpg

Shotblasting machine

Core Shop
The core shop is where cores are machined. The cores create voids or spaces inside the castings, and are often destroyed in order to remove them when opening the moulds.

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-2.jpg

Eurocor machines in the core shop

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Eurocor Corjob-H16

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-6.jpg

Inside the core machine

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-7.jpg

Machining area

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-21.jpg

Area for manual machining of cores

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-5.jpg

Racking with a few cores

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-4.jpg

Shelves of cores

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Core store room

Continued....
 

AndyK

Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
#2
Finishing and Dispatch
The building housing the heat treatment, finishing and dispatch facilities was a later addition, one of the last buildings to be built on the site.

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-42.jpg

Heat treatment area

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-43.jpg

Kiln for heat treatment

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-45.jpg

Finishing workstation

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-44.jpg

The finished product, although these castings were rejects

Workshops
As well as the production areas, there were a number of workshops to support the main functions of the factory

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-41.jpg

The main workshop was crammed full with machines

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-39.jpg

Main workshop

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Main workshop

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-40.jpg

1922-45 regulations still on display

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-36.jpg

Items in office

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-35.jpg

Old office with various items

Bathhouse and Office Block
The bathhouse was quite an old building, with a few features remaining. Unfortunately nice skylights and features in the offices had been covered by suspended ceilings.

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-48.jpg

Bathhouse showers

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-47.jpg

Locker room

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-46.jpg

Small lab

Externals

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-49.jpg

Main buildings

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-52.jpg

Repton Street elevation

chamberlin-hill-castings-leicester-51.jpg

Ghost sign revealing the buildings origins as S. Russell & Sons Ltd, Ironfounders​
 
Last edited:

Yorrick

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#3
Another excellent report :thumb
I looked at it a couple of weeks back - too many neighbours for a coward like me!
 

elhomer12

Maglite size T-rex, It's time for urbex!
Regular User
#4
Another excellent report :thumb
I looked at it a couple of weeks back - too many neighbours for a coward like me!
I remember being put off doing charlesworth at the other end of the street due to this too, too many windows, too many curtain twitchers :rolleyes: That certainly went downhill eventually though.
 

Baggy trousers

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#7
That place is gorgeous! ! I'd be in my element here especially in the machine room!. Fantastic report that chap, wonder how long it will last like this??
Very well done for getting in!!
 

AndyK

Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
#12
Lovely stuff... not many like that left now!

Did the offices look tasty?
They would have been once, I caught a few little glimpses of the nice lantern skylights and Art Deco features that are now sadly covered by suspended ceilings, and cluttered with blandness below. As a result I didn't even bother shooting them.
 

Arcaned

Dirty Donker
28DL Full Member
#14
Great report and photos. I was on here for approx 10 minutes before I was escorted off by the friendly secca guy.
 

The Lone Shadow

Industrial Fanatic!
28DL Full Member
#15
Bloody hell - That is one of the best reports I've seen from anywhere in Leicester for ages! Well done.
 

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