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CVA Foundry

Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield or Birmingham?

At a glance one would guess that this photograph was of a factory in perhaps Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield or Birmingham; so readers will be surprised to learn that it was actually taken at the CVA factory in Portland Road Hove around 1965. Just nearby, in the beautiful residential area of New Church Road and Wish Park, desirable houses now sell for in excess of one million pounds, and heavy industry would be very out of place.

Opened early in 1930

It’s probable that the pig iron was melted in a coal powered cupola furnace, as the chimney seen here at the rear of the Portland Road site suggests.  It must have caused a lot of pollution, however at this time air quality was given little consideration, and global warming was unheard of.  The foundry opened early in 1930, and replaced the smaller foundry which can be seen here 

Closed 1969/70

While a foundry close to the beautiful residential area would not be tolerated today, when it opened the world was very different, and it provided much needed employment to many who lived on the estates nearby to the north.  This continued right up to 1969/70 when it closed and castings were replaced by heavy steel fabrications, with any small requirement for castings being sub-contracted.

Carefully Controlled Pouring, CVA Foundry c. 1965
From the collection of Peter Groves

Comments about this page

  • I worked at CVA in the 60s but in the machine shop. It was a large site and I never got to see all of it.

    By Dennis Fielder (17/11/2015)
  • Hi Peter, great photo of the CVA/K&T foundry. I think the foundry may have  still been in use in 1972, all be it at a reduced capacity. I remember going over there while at the training school at Coombe Road No 3 factory. Gil Percy took some of us apprentices over when they were having a pour which I believe happened twice a week. I remember the foundry just as your photo shows – a cauldron of molten iron was tapped from the furnace and moved along the I beam track on the ceiling, the individual pre-made sand molding boxes were then filled with molten metal and left to cool before being broken open the next day. You are dead right it was a dirty smelly place, quite out of place in the middle of a Hove residential area. Interestingly as the main west coast rail line ran just behind the foundry, a spur line was added to offload raw materials to the foundry, the spur track was removed in the 1970s.   

    By Michael Brittain (23/11/2015)
  • My first job after leaving school in 1965 – I delivered and collected the post from all the departments twice a day. The foundry was the worst place to go into. Luckily I got a place in the Accounts department so I didn’t have to go in there after that. Happy days.

    By Marion Lea (20/12/2015)
  • Sorry forgot to mention that my dad, Bert Feaver, also worked here. Handy for a lift home!

    By Marion Lea (20/12/2015)
  • As an apprentice Pattern-Maker you had to do a three month stint in the foundry as part and parcel of your training: we learned how to make the cores and how to gas them before being placed in the finished mould prior to casting. I will never forget a horrendous scream in the foundry: it was the foundry man attending the Cupola to knock out the plug to let the molten metal flow, but he never heated his poker up first and when the cold steel touched the molten iron, it exploded over him. Terrible – I think his name was Tommy.

    By Gerald Millard (22/09/2019)

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