The History of Ley's Malleable Castings in Derby -
The Family and the Foundry
For over 113 years Ley’s Malleable Castings
was at the heart of Derby’s industrial life.
A family firm despite its large size – at one
time it was the largest foundry of its kind in Europe
– the company was presided over by four generations
of the Ley family between 1873 and 1987.
Both the family and the foundry were embedded in the
history of Derby and their legacies can still be seen
in the city today. The Baseball Ground, built by Sir
Francis Ley as a home for the game of baseball, was
sold by him to Derby County FC and has only recently
been demolished. Remnants of the factory buildings
and offices, which once covered an area of over 17
acres, can still be seen in Derby streets.
Bob Read, a former employee of Ley’s, has put
together a fascinating survey of the history of the
foundry and its importance in Derby’s industrial
history. He has trawled the archives to uncover a
wealth of historical detail, and his account of the
firm’s fortunes is lavishly illustrated with
drawings, photographs and ephemera that bring life
to his story of a business that was part of Derby
life for over a century. His book is sure to appeal
to anyone who worked at the factory, or their relatives,
as well as to all those with an interest in local
or industrial history.