skip to main content

Do you remember J H Lavender & Co. in the 1940s-1960s?


25 June 2019

Did you or anyone in your family work at Lavender’s in the 1940s-1960s?

Do you remember the Lavender family in this period?

Did you move to Britain to work in a Black Country industry in this period?

As part of its ambitious BCLM: Forging Ahead development plans, Black Country Living Museum will be creating a new industrial area, telling the story of the Black Country from the 1940s to the 1960s. The industrial space will feature several well-known Black Country industries, including a translocation of part of the J H Lavender & Co. aluminium foundry from Hall Green, West Bromwich.

When John Herbert Lavender founded his business in 1917, aluminium was an unusual material in Black Country foundries, which had traditionally worked with iron and steel. However, its centuries of experience in metalworking and major engineering industry made the Black Country the ideal place for a foundry like J H Lavender’s. Black Country Living Museum will be translocating a small post-war building and original foundry equipment from Lavender’s site to the Museum, enabling them to demonstrate the sights, sounds and smells of a real 1960s foundry.

The Museum will also be telling the important social history of industrial work in the Black Country. Faced with a desperate labour shortage after the war, Black Country businesses recruited workers from all around the world to enable their foundries, forges and factories to operate to full capacity. Like many foundries in the region, Lavender’s employed foundrymen from India, Pakistan, the Caribbean and elsewhere, providing work and a home for a generation of Commonwealth citizens.

“As a second generation British Asian child I recall my father telling me stories of his time working in the foundries in Smethwick. He spent his working life in smoky and hot furnaces and for my children and grandchildren visiting BCLM and seeing such industries depicted will provide a legacy enabling them to understand who they are and the role their grandfather and great grandfather played in the industrial landscape of the UK.” Ninder Johal DL, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member & CEO, Nachural Group Ltd.

J H Lavender is believed to be the oldest family-owned aluminium high pressure and gravity foundry in Britain. It was founded by John Herbert “Jack” Lavender as Woden Aero Foundry on Stafford Street, Wednesbury in 1917 to supply components for the booming motorcycle and car industry in the Black Country and beyond, supplying numerous famous names including Sunbeam, AJS, Norton-Villiers, BSA and Triumph. Lavender’s was so successful that in 1931 they opened a brand new modern foundry at the corner of Crankhall Lane and Hall Green Road, just over the Borough boundary into West Bromwich. Like scores of other Black Country firms, they produced munitions during World War Two, and continued to expand after the war. John Herbert Lavender died in 1957 but his legacy is still very much alive - the foundry continues to produce aluminium castings for the motor industry to this day.

Black Country Living Museum is seeking memories of Lavender’s aluminium foundry in the 1940s to 1960s, to inform our translocation and recreation of it in BCLM: Forging Ahead. Upon completion in 2021, visitors will be able to experience life and work in a post-war foundry, with regular casting demonstrations. 

For this, we need your memories. 

Get in touch: 

Please get in touch with us or call 0121 557 9643.

For more information about BCLM: Forging Ahead, please visit


Share This Page

Back to latest news

Related Events.

1940s Weekend - Cancelled

read more

Your Feedback
Your Feedback
BCLM Newsletter
Join Newsletter