Motor Cylinder Department, Crosthwaite Foundry

Last I heard Crosthwaite Foundry was called Allied Iron Foundries. My grandfather was Chief Pattern Maker and he is the one on the far right. Motor Cylinder Department, Thornaby c1927.

Photograph and details courtesy of Philip Moore.

7 thoughts on “Motor Cylinder Department, Crosthwaite Foundry

  1. I wonder does anyone remember that in the late 1947- 1949 period, on Saturday mornings there was a man who sold bagged cinders from from a wood shed situated on Crosthwaites tipping spots land. He claimed he spent the week digging amongst Crosthwaite’s steelworks furnace tipping/s looking for and recovering un’burnt cinders that could be resold by him to householders who burnt them on coal fires to make a “good blaze”. The land the cinder-man worked was later known as the Cork Insulation slag heaps whose parent company had bought it from Crosthwaite’s when they closed. As a matter of interest “does anyone know the origin of these slag heaps”? Where they produced by Crosthwaites, by Head Wrighsons, or maybe by the steel firm shown in old Thornaby photos whose works ran alongside Mandale Road steps, in the area later called Chapel Street and Britannia Street?.


  2. Allied Ironfounders Group Ltd. London, was formed in 1929 with ten subsidiary companies including R. W. Crosthwaite of Thornaby. In the 1950s Britain had several million houses that were considered sub-standard. These houses had been built during the late Victorian era and had no hot water supply, no bathrooms and no inside toilets. It was evident that most of these houses were too good to be demolished but the implications for renovation were considered possible. In 1953 Stockton-on-Tees was chosen as the place to carry out an experiment in housing renovation. Stockton was seen as being representative of towns all over the country where a large proportion of the housing stock fell well below the new minimum standards. At that time about 7,000 houses in the town (almost a third) had no hot water supply and were deficient in other areas.

    The test was set up by Allied Ironfounders in partnership with Stockton Council, and four houses was acquired by Allied Ironfounders for the purposes of the renovation test. These would include the demolition of the small, cramped scullery, the coal store and the outside WC. These would be replaced by a new brick structure in the back yard containing a much bigger and better scullery, a bathroom and an indoor toilet. The old kitchen ranges were to be replaced with a modern combination grate and back boiler, providing heating, cooking facilities and domestic hot water. A local firm was contracted to carry out the work on the four houses – numbers 38, 40, 42 and 44 Alliance Street. The workmen moved onto the site on 19th March 1953. Twenty three days later the first house had been completed. Each house had been converted at a cost of £349.17.3d each. The conversion costs were shared between Allied Ironfounders, as the owners of the property, and the Stockton Local Authority in the form of housing grants. The Stockton Test, as it came to be known, was watched by Housing Authorities throughout the land and was hailed as a great success and a shining example of what could be achieved. It was reported in all of the national newspapers, including the Times, and the BBC even showed a documentary on the conversions.

    BOB WILSON (Five Lamps)


  3. I have done my family history going back to the 1600’s. But I will just concentrate on my grandfather’s time at Crosthwaites. He went there n the late 1920’s and stayed about five years and he was a genius making patterns. Crosthwaites were having a bad time when they employed him. Every time they did a cylinder cast they had a success rate of about 10%. He scrapped the pattern and made a new one which resulted in a success rate of 90%. He eventually went to work in Newcastle as Chief Pattern Maker for Clark Chapman (later NEI Clark Chapman) and stayed there till he was 68. He retired because my grandma was ill with a heart condition. She died two years later and a month afterwards Clark Chapman asked him to take over the Pattern Shop again. He wanted to but the family persuaded him not to. He lived to be 86. In the 1960’s a man named Dennis Kirkpatrick became Chief Pattern Maker at Crosthwaites, by then Allied Iron Foundries. He had previously been a Pattern Maker at Head Wrightson. I know this because I worked with his wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is an unusual photograph, I’m glad you posted it. I wonder how long this branch of the foundry lasted. Interesting that John Crosthwaite of the family later designed cars and became a well known racing driver.
    Do you have any more photographs of Crosthwaites or background to your father Philip? I am researching this company for the Thornaby Lives project.


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