Expect interesting developments over the next couple of years for Soho Foundy, a place which Simon Baddeley describes as “part of a Silicon Valley of the 18th century”. (The picture was taken by Ted Rudge a few days ago)
Simon and the Friends of Black Patch Park have recently visited the foundry after a campaign to secure the future use of the park as, well, a park. The park and the foundry sit opposite each other on the borders of Birmingham and Sandwell and recently Sandwell Council agreed to reverse their plans to turn parts of the park over for industrial use. It comes at the same time as the local authority is looking for a new future for Soho Foundry based on it’s critical place in world industrial heritage. It is where James Watt crafted the steam engines which powered a global industrial revolution and you can read more of the visit to the foundry here:
Its brick shell is next to the old Birmingham canal that served it – visible through an iron bridge colonised by buddleah. The canal basin that served the foundry was filled in long ago.
Warned to stand back for fear of falling masonry we peered in at its dappled spaciousness – the grumble of metal recycling in an adjacent yard resonated in the background. We took pictures, asked questions and strolled the surrounding dereliction, glancing south to the tree tops of the Black Patch.
You can also listen to the cabinet member responsible for the Foundry talking to Simon about how heritage is the future for the park and the foundry if you click here.