Singer's Foundry

Singer & The Old Bailey

The story of J W Singer and his company is well-known in Frome and in 2019, the bicentenary of his birth, various exhibitions were organised in the town to ensure that future generations will be equally appreciative, not only of the craftsmanship of the metalwork and statues produced in his foundries and factories at Waterloo, but also of the work opportunities provided for local people still reeling from the decline of the wool and cloth industries.

Paradoxically, Singer was both a Frome man through and through and also an internationalist, travelling widely and receiving commissions from all over the world. The museum holds some Singer artefacts and a huge selection of photographs and documents relating to Singer, his family, his professional work and his legacy to the town. Many of these are available to view on our online Collections catalogue.

We could pick any number of Singer products to illustrate the impact the company had in the world at large but we have chosen the figure of Justice atop the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in London. This iconic figure survived the Blitz and also the 1973 IRA attack on the building. The statue of Lady Justice on the dome above the Old Bailey was executed by the British sculptor, F W Pomeroy and cast by Singers. She holds a sword in her right hand and a pair of weighing scales in her left. The statue is popularly supposed to show blind Justice; however, the figure is not blindfolded. It is good to know that a statue cast in Frome symbolises the British justice system and its integrity.

Leonard Stockting
Leonard Stockting 150 150 Frome Heritage Museum

Leonard was born in Frome in 1897, In 1911 he was apprentice to JW Singer and Sons Ltd for six years to learn metal moulding.

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History of Singer’s foundry
History of Singer’s foundry 150 150 Frome Heritage Museum

JW Singer and Sons Ltd – A brief history of the firm.

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Methods of Casting
Methods of Casting 150 150 Frome Heritage Museum

1. For fine work the Lost Wax process is used.
2. The Sand Method.

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Statuary 150 150 Frome Heritage Museum

At the suggestion of Sir William Bull, three leading London sculptors, Alfred Drury, Onslow Ford and Hamo Thornycroft, invited Singer to a meeting where they suggested he build a foundry to cast statues. He could not resist this challenge and built a new and well equipped foundry.

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Times of War – Singer’s foundry
Times of War – Singer’s foundry 150 150 Frome Heritage Museum

At the outbreak of war in 1914 the Government requisitioned Singer’s to make munitions.

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