Heritage Crafts


The casting of metals, such as iron, steel, bronze, brass, gunmetal etc. See the separate entry for bell founding.
Currently viable
Craft category
Area practiced currently
Origin in the UK
Bronze Age


The number of foundries is falling as part of a domino-effect from the loss of the British steel industry.


  • Sand casting – where a pattern, made of wood or original item is placed in a sand box, sand rammed around it, the pattern removed and molten brass poured into the cavity. This includes bell founding.
  • Investment casting or lost wax – where a pattern is moulded in rubber, wax  facsimiles are formed from the mould, these facsimiles may be joined if there are many small ones in the form of a ‘tree’ inside a flask or, if the object is large a  form is made and  that is then filled with plaster. The flask is then heated in a kiln, the wax is melted out (lost) and molten metal is poured, sometimes under vacuum, into the cavities that remain in the flask
  • Shell casting – where the wax facsimile is dipped numerous times into a slurry until a shell is built up rather like battering fish. Once the shell has dried then the  wax is melted out and molten metal poured into the empty shell(s).
  • Die casting – where a negative of the desired finished object is engineered in metal and then injected with molten metal.


  • Greensand moulding
  • Chemically bonded sand moulding
  • Investment casting
  • Lost foam moulding
  • Spun casting

Issues affecting the viability


Support organisations

Training organisations


Craftspeople currently known

list of foundries can be found on the UK Foundries and Scottish Foundries websites. This list includes both ferrous and non-ferrous foundries. The Cast Metals Federation website also offers a search facility for foundries.

Other information



Foundry Trade Journal Magazine – www.foundrytradejournal.com
Cast Metals Federation – www.castmetalsfederation.com
Institute of Cast Metals Engineers – www.icme.org.uk
Casting Is the Future – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2JPfHofainKQiiNt2ZoB1g
Casting is the Future – www.castingthefuture.com

National Lottery Heritage Fund
Swire Charitable Trust
The Royal Mint
Pilgrim Trust
Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation
William Grant Foundation

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