News: Major iron foundry contract reaches half way mark

22 February 2013

A project to cast 396 columns which form part of the development at One Pancras Square, King's Cross London is over half way to completion.

Since casting work began back in June 2012, Hargreaves Foundry has made a total of 221 columns at heights of 6m and 3.25m, the largest columns weighing in at 2.2 tonnes. Each features a unique, detailed weave design.

The columns are made from 100% recycled scrap iron largely from construction waste such as RSJs and steel profile offcuts; old brake discs and foundry ‘returns’, which is the excess produced by the foundry during the pouring and fettling processes. So far, 215 tonnes of scrap have been melted down at the Halifax factory.

As batches of columns are completed, they are transported to London and lifted in by crane to form a colonnade around the building. They are then fixed into position on a concrete base by metal pins in resin and bolted against the concrete pillars to the top.

The building, designed by the award-winning David Chipperfield Architects, will be one of six buildings around Pancras Square which sits between St Pancras International and King’s Cross Station.

Cast iron was chosen as a building material as it is in keeping with area’s Victorian heritage and travellers passing through both railway stations will see the original large roof structures made using cast and wrought iron. The use of this wholly recyclable metal will contribute to the building meeting the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ sustainability accreditation and One Pancras Square is due to be completed later this year.

Hargreaves MD Michael Hinchliffe said:
‘Our company shares a Victorian heritage with the Kings Cross area as records show it was established before 1881. Today, with a staff of 72 we are one of the few foundries left in the UK capable of producing the size of these castings and the volume required. We recruited 7 new foundry people for this landmark project. As an iron founding company, we have supplied castings to the engineering and construction industries for approximately 130 years.’

Hargreaves Foundry has retained specialist pattern making and foundry skills and undertakes major art casting for sculptors including Anthony Gormley. It is also well known as a manufacturer of cast iron drainage products and there is a sister company, Hargreaves Lock Gates.

The King's Cross area is flourishing and after four years of construction across the 67acre development, the first premises opened in September 2011 and around a third of the 8 million sq. ft. is already ‘spoken for’.

Watch a video of the construction project.