Skip to main content

Monument record MDR9598 - Eagle Foundry (site of), Becksitch Lane, Cowhill, Belper

Type and Period (2)

  • (Victorian to Late 20th Century - 1858 AD to 1970 AD)
  • (Tudor to Victorian - 1540 AD to 1858 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site Buffer Zone

Full Description

The site is shown as 'Eagle Foundry (Iron & Brass)' on a late 19th century OS map with 'Brick Works' and 'Kiln' shown at the southern end of the site. It is subsequently shown as 'Eagle Iron Works' on an OS map at the end of the 19th century and on early and mid 20th century OS maps. (1, 2, 3, 4) The foundry closed in 1970, and the plant was taken over by Silkolene Ltd for storage purposes. Some of the equipment, including the cupola, early cranes and lighting equipment remained intact at the time of the closure. (5, 6) The Smedley Brothers transferred from their ironworks on Queen Street, Belper, to the Eagle Foundry, Becksitch Lane, in 1858. The Eagle Foundry specialised in the production of large items such as grinding mills, clay mills (used in the manufacture of bricks), and boilers and parts for steam engines. They also manufactured lamp-posts for many cities and supplied columns and girders for the piers at several seaside resorts. (7) In 1855 the Eagle Iron Foundry was started by Smedley Bros when they purchased a brick works on Becksitch Lane. The works have now been demolished and replaced by housing. (8) The Eagle Foundry on Becksitch Lane, Belper, not only made heavy castings for brickmaking and other machines, but the southern end of their holding accommodated a brick works which was active in the 1880s, but appears to have been overtaken by their main activities before the first World War. It was accessed via Quarry Road. The works extracted mudstones between the Ashover and Chatsworth Grits. (9)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). XLV-1.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1896-1900. OS County Series, 2nd edition (1st revision), scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). XLV-1, 1898.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1912-1921. OS County Series, 3rd edition (Second Revision), scale 1:2500 (25" to one mile). XLV-1.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1937-38. OS County Series, Third Revision, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). XLV-1.
  • <5> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Eagle Foundry.
  • <6> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 10(i).2, with photo.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Giles, J; Power, G; Smith, M. Naylor, P. editor.. 1999. An Illustrated History of Belper and its Environs. p. 41.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Stroud, G. 2003. Extensive Urban Survey: Belper. Archaeological Assessment Report.. p 24.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 23.



Grid reference Centred SK 3489 4654 (74m by 126m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 9 2017 12:09PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.