Foundry casts last piece of bronze as 100 years of history ends

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IT’S the last traditional bronze and iron foundry in the UK – creating plaques to commemorate the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle, Eric Liddle and Elsie Inglis.

But now, after almost a century of operation in the Capital, Charles Laing & Sons has closed its doors.

Alistair Laing (rear) prepares the molten bronze for the last time at Laing's foundry before moving to Lochgelly

Alistair Laing (rear) prepares the molten bronze for the last time at Laing's foundry before moving to Lochgelly

Members of the Laing family gathered at the foundry to see the final piece of bronze being cast.

It will be cut into plaques for them to keep, while another section will be sent to the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune to form part of a plane.

Andrew Laing, manager of the foundry, said the final day in Beaverbank Place had been an “emotional” one.

He insisted the company had been left with no choice but to quit the Capital for a new home in Fife.

Alistair Laing with his father Alister and friends and family at the final bronzing

Alistair Laing with his father Alister and friends and family at the final bronzing

He said: “Unfortunately the current premises are just no longer practical so we are moving the foundry to Lochgelly.

“We have to hand it over by the middle of July so we need to start dismantling things now in order for us to make the move.

“The new premises are more of an industrial factory as we need to move on with the times but we will still use all of our original equipment.

“It’s been emotional because the foundry on Beaverbank Place holds so much family history but we are looking forward to the new adventure.”

The foundry – where the Scottish Baftas were made – was established in 1920 by Charles Laing on the west side of Beaverbank Place.

Andrew said his grandfather was a brass moulder and moved to Clydebank to work in a foundry for a few years before coming back to Edinburgh.

After a brief stint with the Browns Brothers, he set up his own foundry after they refused to increase his wages.

Since opening its doors almost 100 years ago, the foundry’s work can be seen across the UK and as far afield as Australia and the Faroe Islands.

Its main work includes the casting of bronze trophies, commemorative plaques, cast iron street lamps, railing and other street furniture.

Andrew added: “The foundry has been an important part of Edinburgh’s community for years as the skills and craftsmanship of our family has been handed down three generations.

“I remember being in the foundry from as young as the age of five.

“It’s a shame we are leaving Edinburgh but it’s great we managed to get all the family together in the foundry one last time.

“Afterwards we enjoyed a meal at a restaurant.”

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk