In 1837 William Smith, a local builder, opened a small iron foundry in Dodington where he employed three men to make metal fittings for him. A hundred years later W. H. Smith & Co Ltd was one of the two largest employers in the town. The company, by then being run by his grandson, had a workforce of 250 and manufactured “Anything his neighbour might want”.
The foundry moved from Dodington to larger premises on the corner of Mill Street and Castle Hill in 1860. By 1879 the company had an iron foundry and engineering works in Talbot Street with direct access to the railway line. The Castle Hill site became a wholesale ironmongery depot and offices.
William Smith retired from the business in 1858 and his son Robert Thursfield Smith took over. He had joined his father five years earlier and remained in charge until 1891. Items produced during this time were stamped ‘R.T.Smith & Co. Whitchurch’.
Robert’s two sons took over the company in the 1890’s. William Henry was in charge of the foundry and his brother Robert Thursfield ran the timber yard in Green End.