Joining the business in 1977 as a 15 year old apprentice, Stuart has 40 years experience in all elements of foundry work. A passionate local historian, Stuart oversaw the “excavation” of our original 1895 foundry and loves working on heritage and restoration projects.
Joining as a 16 year old, but practically a newcomer having only started in 1979, Dave oversees all elements of production alongside fellow stalwart, Stuart. An expert in moulding, pattern design and all ferrous and non ferrous metals, if it can be cast, Dave can cast it.
Our fourth and final Director, Cheryl joined the business in 1997 and oversees the day to day runnings of the business here at William Lane. From accounts to purchasing to sales, Cheryl’s been the glue that holds us together for the last 20 years.
Only recently breaking 10 year’s service, Ritson is the newest member of our foundry team. Overseeing finishing here at William Lane, Ritson has made our fettling shop his own private empire. With loving attention to detail, Ritson ensures all our casts leave the foundry.
Joining William Lane in 1994 and fast approaching his William Lane silver jubilee, Steve works across both casting and fettling, covering a range of tasks in the foundry. A real team player and always keen to learn, Steve turns a willing hand to whatever project we have on the books.
Do you think you have what it takes to join Middlesbrough’s oldest working foundry? If you’re a grafter with a willingness to learn then we’d love to hear from you!
William Lane Foundry was founded by the three Lanes; William, a brass finisher John, a brass moulder and James, a blacksmith. To our Boro-bred shame, the original Foundry was located in Stockton-on-Tees, but by 1895, the business had outgrown the plot and moved to its rightful location in the heart of Middlesbrough's iron district.
The new timber-framed buildings enclosed 3 coke furnaces, a substantial improvement on the Stockton site, and the business went from strength to strength; serving the many nearby iron and steel businesses of booming industrial Middlesbrough. By 1939, with WWII raging, the old timber-framed building was deemed unfit for purpose and the current building, with seven coke furnaces, was constructed onsite.
Production continued apace through much of the 20th century and though the last remaining Lane, Roy, left the business in 1984, the foundry endured the shifting currents of British industry to become the last operational business in an area that once boasted of over 140 separate foundries.
Come 2017 and the future's looking brighter than ever. Following a management buy out and external investment, the company's longest standing employees are now Directors and co-owners, we are actively developing the business and the hunt for the next generation of talent is underway.
Though the original coke furnaces were finally retired in 2001, our heritage remains ingrained in every aspect of what we do, from our original, Victorian 1895 foundry (please come and visit us!) to the largely unchanged production techniques.
At William Lane, tradition meets modern vision to bring together the best of both worlds. We are extremely excited about the next 160 years!