Winter at Finch Foundry

Ben Shapcott, Foundry Manager, Finch Foundry, Devon

A Foundry manager's job is a very varied one and over winter, as well as catching up with any training courses and taking some well-earned holiday, there's lots to do.

  • This year, we have opened at weekends prior to finally closing after St Clements Day, something we'll be looking to repeat in the future. The first few weeks fly by, closing the machinery down and making it safe and secure for the winter, basic tidying up of unfinished paperwork and archiving, carrying out the shop stocktake.
  • The most vital job over the winter is the Building team assessing the building and machinery - the machinery is very old, so we need to ensure that everything stays in one piece. Quite often it needs attention and we get an external engineering company to help with the heavy work. The building is also getting some TLC this year with a coat of paint and replacement of rotten fixtures.
  • Collection volunteers work through the winter cataloguing and keeping an eye out for any missing items on the inventory, at the same time carrying out any remedial conservation required. Finch is a damp place which isn't the best mix for a metal-based collection.
  • A Conservation Management Plan has now been completed, thanks to which, we're now able to plan some exciting new developments for the coming years.
  • It's also time to discuss the marketing strategy and plan a programme of events for the following season. Next year, we'll be taking part in the 'Women in Power' programme, so we're busy researching the lives of Rebecca and Emilin Finch so we can tell their stories.

Finally, preparations for the new season start in the spring - from recruiting volunteers to getting the machinery up and running so that we're ready to welcome visitors on 3 March 2018.