Having a blast removing ‘rare’ furnace

Two cranes were used in the operation to dismantle a cupola at the Leach and Thompson’s Chapel Foundry in Keighley

Two cranes were used in the operation to dismantle a cupola at the Leach and Thompson’s Chapel Foundry in Keighley

First published in News

One of the few surviving steel and brick cupolas left in the country was removed from a Keighley factory this week in an operation taking 16 hours to complete.

A ‘mini blast furnace’ weighing about 50 tonnes was delicately extricated from the premises of Leach and Thompson’s Chapel Foundry in Dalton Lane on Saturday.

The 23-metre-tall structure required two cranes to lift. Part of the foundry’s roof and floor had to be removed during the tricky operation. The cupola was then transported to a scrap metal yard.

Company chairman, Mick Milner, said the job had gone successfully. He added the cupola had been in place since at least 1970 and was last used in February this year. It had been one of only about eight or nine such devices left in the UK, and the last in Bradford district.

“The original technology behind it is what kicked off the Industrial Revolution,” he added. “Now we use electrical melting, which is significantly more environmentally-friendly, as you don’t have masses of CO2 and ash. It’s a much cleaner process.”

Commenting on last weekend’s removal, he said: “We had to clear the whole of our foundry yard to get the vehicles in.”

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