Foundry Street's industrial past

Photo:Chris MacDonald was interviewed

Chris MacDonald was interviewed

Feature in The Argus, 4 February 2014

By Jackie Fuller, North Laine resident

Ben Leo, reporter on The Argus, was back in North Laine again in February 2014. Headlined ‘Timeless reminders of street’s industrial past’ it was the turn of Foundry Street to be featured in Ben’s In Your Street series on Tuesday 4th February.

Once the site of the Regent Iron Foundry

Ben discovered that Foundry Street was once the site of the Regent Iron & Brass Foundry that produced metal castings from about 1820. This included ironwork for Brighton’s first pier, the Chain Pier, as well as various household items that were exported all over the world. The Foundry was located where the Post Office sorting office is today in North Road.

The Foundry pub is a reminder

Today the Foundry pub is a reminder of the street’s industrial past but it has had several different names over the years: the White Horse Inn, the Labour in Vain, The Lamb and until 2007 the Pedestrian Arms. There is also a mix of houses and flats in the street, some of which are converted warehouses. If you walk along Foundry Street you can still see evidence of old lifting equipment, pulleys and chains.

Chris MacDonald was interviewed

Ben interviewed Chris MacDonald, a resident sculptor who enjoys making things from found objects or items bought from flea markets. For example, one artwork by Chris was made from an ice-cream scoop, a coil spring and some Perspex, among other things. Another consisted of an old welding torch, a bike lamp and a carving of a head with brass ball eyes. Chris says the genre is now called Steam Punk – using old stuff in a contemporary way - although he has been doing it for 25 years.

He also interviewed John Walsh

Another resident interviewed by Ben was John Walsh, originally from Ireland. John came over to work as a jockey at Newmarket in 1962, rode for about 20 years and just stayed on. He achieved 48 winners in the National Hunt, which included rides at Plumpton and Fontwell. John thinks Foundry Street is great. He told Ben: “There used to be a scrap yard opposite my house when I moved in the 1970s. There also used to be a bakery next door and I believe the ovens are still under the road.”

[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 227, March/April 2014]

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