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Richard Haighton, born in 1825 the son of a tinplate maker, and his wife Susannah started a small foundry at Brick Croft in his hometown of Colne in Lancashire in the late 1840’s.
In 1864 he moved down the valley to Nelson and started the Walverdon foundry with Francis Helm employing eight men and four boys and producing a range of utility iron products such as lamp stands and stoves.
Frank Helm left the partner ship in 1867 to start a business of his own.
By the time of Richard’s death in 1878, the foundry had grown into a substantial operation.
Susannah born in Thornton-in-Craven in 1830, took over the running of the firm until her sons, William, John, Albert and Richard (junior), were old enough to take over as Haighton Brothers, Ironmongers of 4 Nelson Street and Iron founders operating out of the Walverdon works.
With the formation in 1894 of Richard Haighton Ltd and the Vulcan Iron Works off the Leeds Road, Nelson, the firm had established itself as one of prime movers in Nelson, developing land, building the 14 houses in Vulcan street and the Bankfield cotton mill.
By the turn of the century, the foundry business had done very well; its owners had moved to prestigious addresses in Nelson and the surrounding area, William, the eldest, becoming a local councilor . Richard and Clara, were able to employ a domestic servant.
In 1901 William Haighton and James Cornes patented a combined range and domestic boiler that would become the mainstay of the foundry for many years to come.
A new company Cornes and Haighton was formed with James Cornes and patented domestic heating ideas.
By 1904, 98 people were employed at the Vulcan foundry site, 50 in the moulding shop, and 15 in the fitting shop.
The building boom at the end of Great War opened up new opportunities for the foundry. Their domestic fire grates and cookers were in great demand.