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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Nineteenth-century iron works site, Colley Lane, Bridgwater
Civil Parish: Bridgwater
Grid Ref: ST 3077 3652 (ST 33 NW)
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As far as we are aware this site is no longer visible. Please assume that this site is private property and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 02 April 2008]


A foundry was located alongside the Carriage Works of the Bristol and Exeter Railway Company (PRN 12403) and was established c.1845 by George Hennet, a railway engineer, surveyor and contractor. Initially there was a focus on the casting of pipes for I. K. Brunel's atmospheric system on the South Devon Railway but Hennet developed the site for other iron products until his death in 1857. Follett Charles Hennet, his second son, then became a principal in the foundry which traded under Hennet, Spink and Else (later Hennet and Spink). It advertised in 1861 as "engineers, boiler makers and manufacturers of railway plant, fittings and rolling stock". In addition the firm is known to be responsible for three bridges across the River Thames and prefabricated lighthouses, examples of which survive at Watchet (PRN 19401), South Wales and Australia. Railway signalling contracts included the Devon & Somerset Railway and the West Somerset Railway. In 1873 the business was reconstituted as the Bridgwater Engineering Co. Ltd. but was closed in 1878 with the loss of 300 jobs. The site was subsequently occupied by a saw mill (PRN 28023) which is named, along with 'Old Foundry Yard' on the Ordnance Survey map of 1887. Redevelopment for industry has continued until the present time erasing any traces of the original foundry. {1}


1 Correspondence - Murless, BJ (Brian), Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society email to Somerset County Council Historic Environment Record (26/3/2008). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
2 Description - Murless, BJ. George Hennet (1799-1857). In Cross-Rudkin, P and Chrimes, M. Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers 1830-1890.  2. (2008) at 399-401
3 Historical reference - Kelly's Directory of Somerset.  (1861)
4 Mention - Greenfield, DJ and Murless, BJ. Weybridge cast iron arch bridge. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Bulletin.  80 (1999), 12-15
5 Mention - Dixon, J and Kay, P. Walter Easterbrook, Signalling Contractor. British Railway Journal.  40 (Winter 1992), 36, 38, 39
6 Map - Ordnance Survey 1:2500 County Series (Somerset) First Edition map Sheet: 50.15 (1889)
7 Mention - Bentley, J. George Hennet and atmospheric railways. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Bulletin.  58, 6-16 [page 6]

Record created on 02 April 2008

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