Made in Darwen

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We are keen to celebrate Blackburn with Darwen’s industrial and manufacturing heritage as part of the Townscape Heritage Project, so we jumped at the opportunity to visit engineering group WEC in Darwen this week. We already knew that one of their businesses Goosefoot produced lovely street furniture, but we had no idea we were about to step into an Aladdin’s cave of engineering and fabrication history – and see everything from lamp posts to submarines!

Established in 1979, WEC Group are one of the UKs leading engineering and fabrication companies supplying a wide range of industries form aerospace, to rail, gas & oil.  They have grown from a small welding & fabrication shop operating from a makeshift shed in Darwen to one of the largest contract manufacturing companies in Europe.

We are hoping that we’ll be able to work with WEC on the Townscape Heritage Project and in particular on our public realm improvements.

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Gary explaining the quality of the wood they use for their benches

 

Their street furniture company Goosefoot, produce a wide range of metal furniture including benches, bins, bollards and lamp posts as well as more bespoke work that incorporates wood and stone for high-profile projects like ours.

WEC are also responsible for many metal public art projects across the country including our very own Darwen spitfire and the Braid in Blackburn.

One of the most interesting parts of our visit to WEC was seeing how they too are having to reinvent heritage buildings for modern day use. Much of their site retains the original industrial buildings that have been in use for 100s of years. They have been adapted as uses have changed over time, but the quality and integrity of the original buildings has prevailed. Their most recent extension into a former bakery, now houses their power coating ovens – so in some way the baking continues.

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