The Industry & Railways of the South West Black Country




Forge and Rolling Mills


Structural and Mechanical Engineers.

At Stourbridge we waited upon Mr. Foster who took us over his works. These works are the largest & most complete of any in this part of the country & perhaps the most so of any in England; they employ 8 Steam Engines some very large; the large Rolling Mill has a 60 Horse engine in the middle the floor iron plated & everything kept in the best order. They roll all kinds of bar iron the second rolling mill has an engine of the same power not so new but all laid out in the same way. The third engine is very handsome a 6 column engine of 30 H Power working a blowing cylinder of 5 feet, 6 feet stroke. The 4th Engine was abt 20 H Power working hammers. The Iron pig iron is brought here from a work they have in Shropshire to be refined and worked into plates & bars; they turn out from 2 to 300 Ton weekly; the other engines are scattered about the works to drive lathes for the Engine factory for they make all their own steam engines and carry on an extensive engine trade for the West Indies. Mr. Foster is intimate with Mr. Coulson and makes engines for him. The Engine & Foundry departments are conducted by one of the partners named Mr. Rastrick. They are now building a new Foundry very large should suppose 200 feet long by 50 wide with an iron roof in which the tie beams are of cast iron, the rafters cast iron & all the braces &c. round wrought iron bolts very well contrived. The centre of each tie beam has a boss adapted to receive a crane post, diagonal braces from these centres running all through the roof. They are now letting down some wt iron pans for pits about 10 ft diam the ground being wet. - The old foundry is octagon with a crane in the centre reaching all round the furnaces are placed outside; the design was good but the plan is small. The Boiler shop is very large but common boiler macking - In the Work almost every 2 Puddling & balling Furnaces has a cylindrical boiler upon it; one boiler is placed between 4 Furnaces. A cut from the canal runs quite into the mill. An order & regularity prevails throughout this work we have not seen in any other.

Joshua Field's tour through the Midlands,
24th August 1821

© Tom Cockeram 1998