Founded in 1880 by three former employees of the MacFarlane, Saracen Foundry, the Lion Foundry developed into a direct competitor to their previous employer through until the 1950s. In addition to the founders, the company also took the services of William Cassels, a designer and draughtsman from the Saracen Works. This may account for the similarity of designs of the two companies until Lion started to develop a more distinctive Art Nouveau style of designs when Cassells was replaced by James Leitch, who in turn was followed by his son of the same name.

The Lion Foundry was based in Kirkintilloch on the outskirts of Glasgow. and was noted for producing attractive catalogues as seen in this example from the Lost Art Archive.

As the company developed there was a move from producing decorative components, including benches, to full scale structures such as bandstands and shelters.

Lion Foundry’s first large project of note was supplying cast and wrought ironwork for the the County Arcade in Leeds, between the years of 1898 and 1900.

The company developing a particular reputation for work on theatre projects and worked with the celebrated designer Frank Matcham on projects such as the London Hippodrome. Matcham and two of his associates were responsible for work on the majority of theatres built in the boom years of 1890 to 1915, using the properties of cast iron to develop structures in a way that had not been possible previously.

The facade at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool is a Thatcham design and when they required a cast iron kiosk for publicity posters to be placed outside, Lost Art were awarded the project of producing the structure in a sympathetic Art Nouveau influenced style.

As the work for cast iron sturctures declined as the 20th Century progressed, Lion moved into the production of more prosaic components and structures, particularly bus shelters and fire escapes. Like the Carron Company they produced telephone boxes for the GPO and latterly pillar boxes for Telecom.

Although the company was involved in the restoration of cast iron elements of the Houses of Parliament, this type of specialised work was a rarity rather than a regular source of income and the company finally closed in the 1980s.

The Lost Art Archive

In addition to Lion Foundry catalogues, Lost Art also have a variety of other historical records from teh Victorian Period.

These include copies of original illustrations supplied to potential clients;

Lost Art also possess the skills shown in the Lion Foundry Catalogue which will allow us to restore or reproduce Lion Foundry bandstands and structures for any project. It should be noted that our Health & Safety considerations are greater than those shown here and in the image showing the construction of the bandstand!