News: Hargreaves is inspiring Britain

05 December 2013

Hargreaves Foundry has been selected by the London stock exchange as one of the most inspiring companies in Britain.

London Stock Exchange Group's "1000 Companies to Inspire Britain" report seeks to identify the most exciting small and medium sized companies in the UK. The selection criteria, designed to find the innovators of tomorrow, required companies to have shown growing revenue in at least three of the past four years but also to have outperformed their peers by growth in number of employees, work space occupied, or number of filed patents.

Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group says "The range of companies across the UK reflects the local hubs or expertise, skills and talent that we have in this country". Hargreaves Foundry, is one of four manufacturing companies highlighted in the report, the organisation operates in a wide variety of industries.

The Hargreaves Drainage business supplies rainwater, soil and drainage castings to the builders' merchant market including some of the biggest names in the field. Hargreaves Drainage is the industry expert in cast iron, believing strongly in the qualities and benefits of cast iron and able to offer advice and support when specifying, purchasing or installing cast iron products for a construction project. Nigel Stokes, Drainage Commercial Manager says "Our objective is not to become the biggest just the best, so watch this space".

Hargreaves Foundry has been manufacturing iron castings for more than 100 years, "If something can be made in cast iron, we can make it," says Michael Hinchliffe, Managing Director, adding that his 'can-do' attitude is prevalent throughout the company, "We are willing to take on new and challenging projects whenever we can. It's why we've enjoyed success across diverse markets."

Being part of the Hargreaves group provides an advantage to Hargreaves Drainage as the Foundry skills and facilities can be utilised to provide bespoke drainage products to meet specific project specifications such as the recently completed renovation of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Hargreaves worked with Leeds based supply and install company Yeoman Rainguard on the project. The bespoke pattern making, casting, fabrication and custom paint services offered by Hargreaves Drainage were all utilised to create like for like replications of the traditional rainwater system which featured unique intricate designs.

Michael says. "By caring about customers we have built a trustworthy reputation within the industries in which we operate." This hard-earned reputation fortified the company in the tough economic climate. In recent years Hargreaves Foundry has restructured much of its business. "Change management has been the biggest challenge for us," Michael says. "We have overcome this by staying true to our core values."

In 2009 when many businesses were struggling the Hargreaves family was growing with the addition of canal lock gate manufacture and install company Hargreaves Lock Gates. Headed up by expert craftsman Nigel Lord, the company has quickly gained a strong reputation within the canal heritage industry. The team is currently working on a two year project to produce 22 lock gates for the Cotswold Canals Partnership to form part of their restoration work along a 6.7 mile stretch of the Thames and Severn between Stroud and Brimscombe Port.

We embrace challenge; Hargreaves Foundry recently completed our most challenging project to date which lasted 14 months and involved casting 396 cast iron columns to form part of the development of One Pancras Square, Kings Cross, London, Gridiron building designed by the award winning David Chipperfield Architects. The columns, varying in specification, weigh up to 2.2 tonnes and measure up to 6m in height, each features a unique intricate weave design.

Hargreaves' survival over the decades has been ensured by a willingness to take risk, a desire to diversify and a commitment to customer care; "We have always taken time to build relationships with customers and understand their requirements," says Michael.

The Foundry stays true to it's machine tool ancestry and continues to supply machine tool castings for heavy industry companies whilst daring to take on exciting fine art commissions which vary greatly depending on an artist's vision.

Antony Gormley, renowned British sculptor famed for the Angel of the North has been a customer of the foundry since the early 90's, Hargreaves exclusively manufacture a unique collection of cast iron bollards designed by Antony which they supply through the builders merchant network. Andy Knight, Foundry and pattern shop business manger says "There is an expanding market in traditional cast iron through people like Antony, and that's drawn attention.

Michael attended the opening of the London Stock Exchange with a selection of Directors and CEO's from the 1000 companies, to launch the publication of the report. On being named one of Britain's most inspiring companies, he says, "I am proud that the positive attitude and hard work of genuinely everyone in the company are being recognised".