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Barry, Henry & Co 1790

1790 as ‘Barry, Henry and Co, an Iron Foundry with its Engineering works when 1st located in 60 Loch Street, Aberdeen.  Iron Founders and Manufacturers of Bone Manure

Barry, Henry and Co. was founded in 1790 by John Barry, Blacksmith, and later, Burgess, of Aberdeen. For its 1st hundred years the Company operated mainly as Ironfounders, undertaking some ancillary engineering work and fertiliser manufacture, but during the period 1890-1923 engineering sales began to outstrip the Foundry output, as emphasis on power transmission equipment and the beginning of materials handling became dominant. From 1923-1973, Engineering was its main activity, and the company developed expertise in bulk material handling contracts, conveying systems and storage plants. Its Ironfoundry was partly mechanised in this period, and after 1973 underwent radical advances in line with recent national research and development. From 1973 engineering material handling and oil-related work predominated.

The Engineering Works moved to 122 West North Street. as Barry, Henry & Cook ltd. A large group of 1 and 2-storey buildings, somewhat altered, mostly rubble-built, including the iron foundry.

Photographed in Barry, Henry and Company's foundry we see here the satanic conditions for men who worked with cast iron. This company made things such as, Mooring Bollards (see inset),  Steam Engines and Coal & Ore Belt Conveyors. Many of their Engineering products were made of Cast iron using their own own foundry. Working in the foundry was skilled, but dirty and dangerous work. Dust was everywhere from the moulding sand and men were working with extremely heavy objects and white hot, molten metal with little protection other than working clothes.  An overhead gantry is present for the lifting and movement of heavy items on steel framed cradles.  Specialised tools were used by an iron moulder who worked in the foundry.

The moulder was a man who used special sand to make mould using a timber mould made by a Pattern-maker. The sand was carefully packed around the wooden pattern. The tools helped him tamp the sand in and helped him shape and smooth the mould accurately. The mould Box would split at at a suitable point in the work piece to remove the the timber pattern before pouring the molten metal into the impression.  The wooden pattern was taken out leaving the exact shape impression required with suitable vents to ensure there were no air pockets. This could be a part of an engine or perhaps a gear wheel.

During its main period of growth in the 1960s and 1970s Barry, Henry and Cook, Ltd. supplied plant to a number of high profile industrial developments. These included the British Coal Open Cast Site at Westfield, Fife (1962); new aluminium smelter plants at Invergordon (British Aluminium, 1969-1971), Lynemouth, Northumberland (Alcan, 1971-1972) and Anglesey (Imperial Smelting Ltd., 1969-1970); the British Steel Corporation, Clydesdale and Ravenscraig Works, Motherwell (1973-1976); and the British Sugar Corporation, Newark Factory (1975).

The business records are mostly records of production and marketing, comprising monthly returns, c 1895 - c 1952 (some gaps); orders lists, 1920s; draughtsman's books, 1895 and 1902-1903; engineers' drawings, 20th c; pattern books and catalogues, 1890-1911 (gaps); printed papers and publicity, c 1960s - c 1970s; and miscellaneous minutes, accounts and files (unsorted - but seem unlikely to include comprehensive runs of either minutes or accounts), 20th c. There is also a typescript 'History of Barry, Henry & Cook Limited, Engineers & Ironfounders, Aberdeen, from 1790-1976: with a Supplement on the Industrial and Social Development of Aberdeen'; and some Cook family papers which relate to their involvement with the Company, viz. shares and transfer papers, late 19th c - early 20th c.

The personal papers of Victor Cook are principally local history research notes. They include papers relating to the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, and a typescript copy of 'Strathdon Notes' (1976), a local history of the Strathdon district of Aberdeenshire, written by Cook, with recollections of Miss Bella Rogie of Glencarie. There is also a volume containing Mechanics Lecture notes taken by Victor Cook, whilst a student at Glasgow Technical College, 1920

Victor's Grandfather Charles Cook was a canny-man of vision and 1889 he bought an Iron Foundry in Aberdeen and started the Company of Barry, Henry & Cook.  Victor’s parents were married 7 years later and even by then business was flourishing with the family investing widely. Then suddenly came loss, in 1918 peritonitis took away grandfather Charles Cook, and 2 years later, to the very same condition, father Robert Cook died. He was just 50. So it was that young Victor was left to oversee the vast Engineering Works. Victor turned to his mother Victoria Gordon, a woman of true substance, Victor never left his mother again, and when his only brother Norman was killed tragically young in a motorcycle accident in 1927, he set up their home in Counteswells House. From that day forth, mother Victoria, and son Victor, formed an unbreakable bond. Their home was in Bieldside, . Victor took over the management of his Mother’s farm. Even in his 90s he used to drive his car up the steep 4 mile track from Balmoral to visit Bovaglia. Indeed he was known to take his friends on the 'Royal' tour.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013