Andrew Strang & Company Ltd.

The importance of Andrew Strang & Company and the Blair Foundry to the local community cannot be underestimated. Although Hurlford is an inland village, its products can be found on the seas across the entire world. The site of the foundry was chosen due to its closeness to the Portland Ironworks and the blast furnaces of William Baird & Coy. Andrew Strang came to the village in the 1850's when he was 44 to begin his job as manager of the ironworks before setting up his own foundry in 1864. His foundry supplied rails and other metalwork required by the areas many collieries.

Andrew Strang soon after becoming established with his own business became one of the most popular people and employers in the area. He lived in a time where most employers distanced themselves from their workforce, but Strang knew all his employees names and was often their most trusted friend and confidant. His generosity and cheerful nature extended further into his community, helping many local causes including, as a keen bowler, getting the local Bowling Green set up financially. 

By the beginning of the 20th century, Strangs were producing parts for local  lace looms and other products for the wider world market. One of its main contracts was making cylinders for the locomotive and bogey wheels for the De Beers Mines in South Africa. During a slump in the iron-founding business in the first decade of the 20th century Strangs branched out into marine work and soon began casting propellers and other parts for marine engines. During the war of  1914-18  Strangs were capable of casting one a day. 

After surviving a depression in the shipping trade in the 1920's and 30's, Strangs were at the forefront of Britain's war effort right from the outbreak of hostilities in  1939. Like most other firms of their type they had to adapt to accommodate new work which had been out of their scope in the past. They reorganised for maximum output. It is in no small part due to small firms like Strangs that Britain was able to win the Battle of the Atlantic as propeller after propeller left their foundries. After an urgent request from the Admiralty, Strangs managed to produce 16, 7ft. propellers in just 21 days which they later found out were used on the landing craft for D-Day. 

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