THE HISTORY OF ALLIANCE FOUNDRY
The pressures of the immediate post-WW2 years meant that the foundry at Westwood Works did not have sufficient capacity to supply its needs, particularly for lighter castings. As a result, in 1947, the Alliance Foundry at Luton was acquired, together with St. Peter's Foundry, Newcastle (See also The History of Bedewell). Alliance Foundry became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1950 when a small amount of outstanding shares were purchased. Kenneth T.J. Bone, who had sold Alliance to Baker Perkins, acted as a consultant to the company when, in the early fifties, Baker Perkins made an entry into the foundry machinery market.
The foundry was about the same size as that at Westwood and situated in Icknield Road in the northern suburbs of Luton and employed around 150. Jack Mossendew was the expediter at Westwood Works responsible for liaison with Alliance.
Profits were modest at first but both turnover and profits showed a significant increase during the early fifties. Profits were retained in the business until 1956 when a dividend was paid.
After a time, when the demand for castings from Westwood Works became less urgent, Alliance Foundry had sufficient capacity to supply castings to other firms, this becoming a regular part of its activities. In particular, by 1966, Alliance had made a valuable connection with Vauxhall Motors and was supplying castings for the dies used in vehicle body-pressings. Development work resulted in castings being made to such fine tolerances that the car-companies were saved many hours of machining. Another significant product line was the reproduction of nameplates – another piece of precision work.
A new cast-to-size development laboratory was opened in 1968. Alliance became the only foundry in Europe capable of making castings of tools and die blocks for pressings for the motor car and other industrial users to an accuracy of fifteen-thousands of an inch. The development was important because it took the foundry industry a step forward into the technological age. These castings were produced by white-coated workers in clean, laboratory surroundings – a far cry from the traditional foundry image.
Many of those employed at the Alliance Foundry were Indians and Pakistanis. They would arrive each morning before the time for work and, in separate corners of the foundry, hold their religious services. Ted Thain tells the story of Austin Farrell persuading a number of workers to unload a lorry that was having difficulty passing under the low bridge that was a feature of the site. One man appeared rather reluctant but buckled to it when Austin became even more insistent. However, after a few minutes effort, the man began to walk away. When asked where he was going, the man replied, "Back to work, I don't work here!".
Information on Alliance in the Annual Report petered out in 1972???
Several illustrations in article in Group News – Dec 1966 – No 19.
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