Saturday, 14 April 2007

The Daglish Foundry, St. Helens

The picture shows the Robert Daglish & Company foundry in St. Helens, Lancashire in about 1870. The foundry started in the 1790s and Robert Daglish (senior) took an interest in 1818. By the 1840s, it was known as Watson, Daglish & Co., but from 1843 the Weston name was dropped.

The firm described itself in those days as "Brass & Iron Founders, Manufacturers of Steam Engines, Weighing Machines, Gas Apparatus, Mill Machinery, etc.". The company went on to build an international reputation for the casting and building of steam pumping and winding for the mining industry, and was particularly successful producing locomotives and bridges for the expanding railway network.

Visitors to Dublin today can find some evidence of the work of the foundry on the Rory O'More Bridge over the River Liffey, close to the Guinness brewery. The bridge was completed in 1859 as the Victoria Bridge and re-named in 1939 after Rory O'More, one of the key figures in the Irish Rebellion of 1641.

Inscribed on the arch of the bridge is: "Robert Daglish Junr. St. Helens Foundry Lancashire". Robert Daglish Junior was the son of Robert senior, and was well known for his work on bridges.

By the 1890s the St. Helens site had extended to cover 25,000 square yards and over 400 people were employed. However, by the beginning of the 19th century the peak had passed, and by the 1920s a decline in the local collieries had reduced demand and some said that the machinery built by the Daglishes was too well-built to need replacing. The foundry was in continuous production from 1798 until its closure and eventual demolition in 1939.

Photo of the foundry and details provided by Richard Daglish, who has spent many years researching his Daglish family from Lancashire. Richard has provided much support and encouragement to my own Daglish research and is a member of the Daglish DNA Project.
Photo of the rolling equipment from book "A Teatise on Manures" by A.B. Griffiths.


Anonymous said...

crossed the bridge over the liffy on 5th june 2009 and was very suprised and proud to dicover its origin still in very good condition havind lived and worked in st helens for the last 40 years i have spoken to sum off the locals they didnt know there had been a foundary in the area YOURS SINCERLEY SID OGDEN

Anonymous said...

Schooldays, often cycled under a bridge with girder inscribed "Robert Daglish 1831" carrying Wigan - Southport rly over a sidestreet off Frog Lane, Wigan. That line was only built 1840's, so perhaps the girder was re-used from elsewhere. Bridge was rebuilt c 1970. For more info on RD pre-1818, follow

Bob Grundy