Plummer Foundry

  • In 1869 John Phillip (JP) Plummer, an experienced foundry man, was offered the position of managing the moulding and casting departments in William Dick’s new Agricultural Works 1
  • JP moved to Bolton from Woodbridge, purchased property in 1870 at the foot of James Street and shortly after built a two storey frame house 2
  • Around 1878, JP partnered with tinsmith and local builder George Watson in a foundry along Queen Street at the edge of the mill pond behind James Wolfe’s property.  They made ploughs and beams.  The partnership dissolved in 1888 when Watson moved to Toronto 3 
  • JP purchased property along the river on Mill Street and built a new foundry where his sons William and Charles were both employed.  After JP’s sudden death in 1892,  his sons took over, continuing the business as ‘Plummer Bros.’ 4
  • They expanded the business, employed eight to ten men making ploughs, cutting boxes, furnaces and general cast-iron work including decorative fencing as well as decorative lawn and garden ornaments such as urns.  The fence surrounding 53 James Street is an example of the Plummer Foundry workmanship, as is the fencing at the old Anglican Cemetery, high above Centennial Drive.
  • During World War One, Plummer Bros. foundry kept 25 to 30 men employed all year
  • The work was physically demanding and the excessive temperatures caused by pouring molten iron were often unbearable
  • The foundry was sold in 1937, a victim of the depression and the advent of new technologies
  • Fire gutted much of the foundry in 1952 but several small casting businesses worked at the site until it was sold to Tomlinson Industries
  • Tomlinson cast furnaces but in 1968 decided to close rather than bear the expense of installing newly legislated air pollution equipment

114 Hemlock Street built circa 1870.  Note the decorative cast-iron fencing, a specialty of the Plummer Foundry.  The fencing was later moved to 53 James Street.  To the right is ‘Elm Cottage’, also known as 108 Hemlock Street, built in 1887 for J.P. Plummer’s daughter Louise and her husband Thomas Henry Smith.

The foundry buildings on Mill Street.

And the buildings?

  • In 1969, the remaining buildings were converted into Village of Bolton and Bolton Hydro offices.  Windows for the converted building were salvaged from the Albert Street School after the 1969 fire.  Around 2005,  the buildings were purchased by Verona and Rex Teskey as offices for their real estate business
  • Both the J.P. Plummer house and the Charles Plummer house remain standing today
  • The Plummer family history can be found in the full text archives section of this site

Charles and Catherine Plummer’s House at 53 James Street. Red brick, Edwardian Classical style. Built circa 1900 by J Stubbs. The decorative cast-iron fence was made at the Plummer Foundry

J.P. Plummer House, built circa 1870. L to R. Catherine, Harriett, Charles, Louisa, William and Vesta Plummer. The lawn urn was cast at the Plummer Foundry.  Photo by Robertson Matthews.

L to R. William, Harriett, Vesta, Charles, Louisa and Catherine Plummer. Photo by Robertson Matthews.  The cast-iron fence in front of the house was later moved to 53 James Street.

Photo taken after 1918. Humber River in the foreground


  1. Don Chapman, History of the Plummer Family and Foundry
  2. Pt. Lot 8, Con 7, ALBION, Inst# 536 ALB
  3. Esther Heyes, The Story of Albion, printed by The Bolton Enterprise,  2nd Edition 1968, pg 331-332
  4. Don Chapman