History of Singer's

History of Singer’s foundry

History of Singer’s foundry 150 150 Frome Heritage Museum

1848 John Webb Singer cast his first brass altar candlesticks using turnips as moulds.
1851 By now Singer’s was using premises in Eagle Lane in Frome to cast church ornaments, later expanding to a forge in Justice Lane.
1851 Singer’s exhibited at the Paris Industrial Exhibition, the first of many such occasions.
c 1861 A gas engine was installed at the foundry, designed to run off the town supply, to power the factory machines through a complicated arrangement of shafts, pulleys and belts. The engine needed six blacksmiths to turn the two large fly wheels to start it.
1862 London Exhibition.
1866 Moved to Waterloo in Frome, between Cork Street and West End.
1878 Paris Exhibition. Silver and bronze medals were awarded.
1888 A new statue foundry was built. Among the statues cast were ‘Boudica and Her Daughters’ and ‘Justice’ in London, ‘King Alfred’ in Winchester and lions for the Rhodes Memorial, Capetown.
1899 The firm was made a Private Limited liability Company. John Webb Singer relinquished control to his sons. Some shares were offered to craftsmen.
The Share capital was –
20,000 6% Preference shares at £1 a share
10,000 Ordinary £1 shares
20,000 4% Debentures
The Directors were –
William Herbert Singer Managing Director, Edgar Ratcliffe Singer, (Sir) William Bull MP and George King
1904 On May 6th. John Webb Singer died, aged 85.
1914 Singer’s purchased its rival Spital & Clark of Birmingham for £ 12,500. Ernest and Clifford Spital joined the Board as Managing Director and Works Director respectively.
1914 – 1918 The firm was requisitioned by the Government to make munitions. Women were employed for the first time.
1918 Pre-war production resumed. There was a great demand for war memorials.
1926 The Art Metal side of the business was taken over by the Morris Art Metal Works of London due to falling demand and the distance from London, the new company becoming the Morris Singer Foundry, which still casts statues at Basingstoke where it moved to in 1967. Singer’s now concentrated on hot metal pressing in non ferrous metal.
1934 By this time Singer’s was suffering the effects of the Depression. Clifford Spital returned to Frome to run the firm without salary for 12 months until it became profitable. In fact, the business did increase and modest profits were made -1933 Balance of £3,579,1934 Balance of £7,451, 1935 Balance of £7,641. At this time a bonus pension scheme introduced.
1939 Again the company directed itself to war work. The old gas works at Welshmill were taken over for the production of cast metal brass rods for producing fuse body pressings.
1946 Singer’s was taken over by the Drayton Group of Old Broad Street, London. Clifford and his son Geoffrey Spital left the board.
1949 The company amalgamated with Mansell Booth of Birmingham.

1956 Both companies were taken over by the Delta Metal Company.
2000 The company relocated to Handlemaker Road in Frome and the old site was sold for housing.  The firm now concentrated on water sprinklers.

A late 19th century portrait of John Webb Singer.