The Darlington Forge Company Limited was established on Albert Hill in 1854 by Cowans, Sheldon & Co of Carlisle. Together with other manufacturers, including the Whessoe Foundry Company Limited, the Darlington Forge went on to help the town to develop a world-class reputation for heavy engineering.

History of the Darlington Forge

Below are a selection of photographs which were used to promote some of the engineering achievements of the Darlington Forge Company. They included for the Olympic, Britannic and Titanic liners. Click on an image to see information it:

In one of the images in the gallery above, a company poster showing two people on a marking table with a large stern frame, Tony Wright has identified himself as the man furthest from the camera. He started his apprenticeship in 1954 in the Machine Shops. A research paper written by Tony entitled ‘Notes on and Recollections of The Darlington Forge’ is available from the Centre for Local Studies at Darlington library (ref. E800008645 U4181DAR).

Darlington Forge Seimens Department

Book coverMalcolm Mowbray started work in the Siemens department of the Darlington Forge in 1960 at the age of 15. His first job was as a steel smelter on the furnaces. During the next 6 years he worked in the whole of the department covering the smelting process, ladles, casting pits, troughs, head and top plate moulding.

Malcolm has produced a book of his memoirs of steel making at The Darlington Forge. His new book, Kid Glove Smelter, is brought to life with his fabulous sketches, illustrating the machinery and processes used in the Siemens department of the Forge, some of which are included below. A short extract from the book is available to download here – HEAT by Malcolm Mowbray.

Copies of the full Kid Glove Smelter book are available from at a cost of £10.50. It is also available as an eBook from, Apple store, Barnes and Noble and Kobo at £4.50 / 5 Euros.

Plan of the Siemens Department, The Darlington Forge,1960

Floor plan of the Darlington Forge

A – Gas producing plant F – Top casting pit at 25′ depth K – Drying oven
B – Scrap yard G – Middle casting pit at 20′ depth L – Top plate & head moulding
C – Raised staging H – Two uphill casting pits at 8′ depth M – Mould storage sreas
D- Three furnaces I – Sand beds for ingot cooling  
E – Ladle pits J – Trough preparation

The notes produced by Malcolm Mowbray on the processes used in the Siemens department of the Darlington Forge can be downloaded from the links below:

The scrap yard
Open hearth furnace
Tapping the open hearth furnace
Sample of molten steel
The charger
Ingot casting
Drop forge & other aspects of the forge

Malcolm is keen to hear from his former colleagues. If you would like to contact him please send an email to

Despite busy periods around both world wars the fortunes of the Darlington forge were greatly influenced by changes in the global economy. After the second world war orders began to decline and in January 1967 the closure of the Darlington Forge was announced, with the eventual closure of the site in 1970.

If you have anything that you would like to share with others with a similar interest in this section please contact Equally, if you have found the photographs interesting or have any information that could be added, your comments would be very welcome.


Darlington Forge Company Limited — 1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.