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Hampton Wick's industrial past

Saturday 5th August 2023

Hampton Wick's industrial past

Moyle Foundry exhibition at the Library

The HWA is pleased to present a new exhibition at the Library, based on some remarkable photographs of the iron foundry which used to operate on the site of what is now the Library, Bullen Hall and the sheltered accommodation in Bennet Close.

We were recently given access to these photos by Paul Barnfield, a local historian who took them from his sister’s flat in Park Court in 1973. At the time, the foundry was about to be demolished.

It’s amazing to think that a large industrial building was once here in the centre of Hampton Wick, employing at least 40 people in manufacturing jobs.

A potted history

The first iron and brass foundry was built here in 1894. By the 1920s it was bankrupt and the building was derelict.

In 1926, a man called Victor Moyle started the business up again, specialising in metal castings for river and sea-faring boats. By 1930 he was employing 12 men, but during the Depression the business almost failed. He had to lay off all his staff, and his wife went to work in the foundry alongside him.

By 1940 things were going well and Mr & Mrs Moyle bought the freehold to the foundry and to the house at 38 Park Road where they lived and where they had an office and a store for the business.

By 1950 the Moyle Foundry was employing 40 people. Throughout the fifties and sixties, the Moyles continued to extend and adapt the building, and they were joined in the business by their son.

However, around 1970 the foundry was closed and the site sold off to developers who originally wanted to build a three-storey office block! They were refused permission for this, and instead the council purchased the land and in 1973 built Hampton Wick Library and Bullen Hall and the sheltered accommodation flats next door.

In addition to Paul Barnfield’s photographs, the exhibition also features a 1950 article from the Foundry Trade Journal which the HWA has unearthed. The article gives a detailed description of the Moyle Foundry at the time.

Hampton Wick Library is open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.