Report - - Coalbrookdale Foundry - Aga Rayburn aka. 'The Birthplace of Industry' - Dec 2017 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Coalbrookdale Foundry - Aga Rayburn aka. 'The Birthplace of Industry' - Dec 2017


Got Epic?
Regular User
First off cheers to @bubblehead for pointing out a couple of weeks ago that this place had finally given in to the inevitable after 309 years of casting! Sad really but also a bit mouthwatering when you think this place is claimed to be the oldest 'industrial' foundry in the world. According to the stories Abraham Darby first smelted iron ore with coke here way back in 1709 kicking off the industrial revolution! In recent times the site has been owned by Aga-Rayburn and has been used to cast components for their range cookers. Aga was bought out by an american firm in 2015 and they quite predictably have shut this place down and will now be sourcing cast components from third parties in the future. 42 men with over 900 years service between them lost their jobs.

Sadly it seems this great site has been spunked across the internet already. Next time people tell you how 28DL is supposedly responsible for getting good places sealed up or trashed you can point to this situation as the prime example why they are talking shit.

Never mind tho, i really enjoyed my explores here. The old part has been derelict for ages but there was little to see in there, the part that has just closed was much better. I rocked up early doors but was annoyed to find the power had already been switched off to 90% of the building and it was in darkness. I had to sit it out for a couple of hours until the sun came up before i could really see what i was looking at. Typically just as it was getting light people arrived in the building and started up work stripping out. Luckily their activities were confined to one area so i managed to skirt around them and get photos of most of it. When they disappeared off for a tea break i took my chance and got a few quick snaps of the remaining areas before strolling back out the gate.. Easy

Starting at the main gate

When the men turned up for work at the end of November they found the gates closed and were told they were not needed. They tied their boots to the gate to mark the occasion..

At the rear of site we find the tall cuplars where iron was meted.

Under the cuplars

The melt shop with ladles hanging from overhead track.

Bit tricky to light this shot

Wasn't much left of the core shop

This bit of kit would have processed the castings once they had been poured i think.

There was a fair bit of modern automated line in there which i thought was a little suprising

Dust Extraction

More automated lines

The mens forklift parked up

Bags of casting sand

Plenty of old patterns laying about

Great Graffiti too. Too much to shoot!


Well you didn't expect them to have a normal cooker in the break room did you lol!

Found quite a bit of stuff they had made for next door

Machine shop entrance with a pair of milling machines setup for production work

Radial drill in the machine shop, looked like this area hadn't been used for a while

Two more

Fettling shop with bays to remove flashing from parts

Selection of large offhand grinders

More grinders for fettling


Got Epic?
Regular User

Inside the older building that had been derelict a long time

Old products no doubt

Seemed like i this part had cast drain pipes at one time

One last part was the old substation/compressor house.

This is actually attached the the building they use as a museum but was still used by Aga to house the compressors.

Compressors were modern and boring but a few bits were empty

Over all i really enjoyed this place, very few of these little small scale foundries left now i should think. None with the provenance this one had tho.. shame


grumpy sod
Regular User
I was waiting for this to pop up here - and I knew deep down you'd be the one to get it done.

I don't think it'll be full of stuff for very long sadly. Such a great looking place.

Oxygen Thief

Staff member
Nice one Speed, I didn't even realise this was a thing. Some great history gone to shit right there.

Also, good point, well made.


28DL Regular User
Regular User
nice work mate. was going to try and squeeze this in myself before chrimbo after reading an article on it closing a few weeks back.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Looking at one of your photos which shows a circular mould - that is for a cast iron trivet - I bought a couple of these back in 2007 when I moved house fitted out the new kitchen from an Aga catalog.

The reason I chose Aga was for its industrial heritage and being familiar with the Ironbridge Gorge area.

When I heard the foundry was losing a couple of months ago I was very disappointed. But then perhaps it is not surprising given that the company sold out to US interests two years ago.

I noted that one of the images of a white board shows a Polish flag so I guess that is where the parts are being sourced from as the company issued a press release stating that other companies in UK and Europe would manufacture components.

A very sad day for British Industry - but thanks for the photos - very interesting.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
As a Patternmaker i visited there probably about 1979, after the place was featured on Tomorrow's World about a new design and casting process, it involved the casting of garden bench ends in silica sand as opposed to green sand, and a plastic film, as far as i can remember the pattern was plate mounted a plastic thin sheet was placed over the top,and the air sucked out like a vacuum forming machine, then silica sand was moulded over the top, the pattern withdrawn leaving a void same shape as the pattern, molten aluminium was then cast into the cavity, giving an excellent surface finish, they were quite proud of doing it first.

Also saw the manufacture of cast back boiler tanks for coal fires and pressure testing, really helpful chap showing me around , the place needed investment back then and looks the same as when i visited all those years ago, just cleaner and brighter.

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