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Buy-out revives Middlesbrough’s last surviving foundry

A 150-year-old Teesside foundry has forged its place in history following a management buy-out.

William Lane Foundry, in Middlesbrough, faced uncertainty when its previous owner retired, but its future has now been secured with the MBO.

The foundry, the only surviving site of its kind in the town, produces metal castings for a variety of uses, from engineering parts to restoration projects such as the Saltburn cliff lift.

Originally working in bronze, the firm has diversified into cast iron and aluminium in recent years to meet demand.

Director Stuart Duffy was one of three people involved in the deal, along with fellow directors David Stuart and Cheryl Holley. Between them, the three have more than 100 years’ experience with the firm.

Stuart, who has worked at William Lane since he was 15, said: “Out of 140 foundries in Middlesbrough, we’re the only one left. When you’ve been here this long, you’re the custodians of history and the skills it taught us.

“Everyone says, ‘My dad used to be a fettler or a forger’ – we want to stop the talk of the past and bring the industry back.

“The skills we have are no longer taught in colleges and within traditional education settings – the only way to learn them is by working here.”

Thanks to the management buyout, the team is hoping to add to the current team of six, which includes two apprentices, by taking on a moulder.

David said: “Our ultimate goal is growth – we want to be able to pass on our skills and knowledge to the next generation, and thanks to the team at Anderson Barrowcliff, we hope we will now be able to do that.”

James Dale, partner at Tees accountancy Anderson Barrowcliff which handled the MBO, said: “We were delighted to work with William Lane Foundry and play a part in saving this important part of Teesside’s heritage.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the team – I’m sure it will be very exciting.”

 

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