An appreciation of Foundry Worker Herbert Waters by Percy Ellison

To the memory of Herbert Waters


Percy T Ellison


Better known as Triffler” and which he liked to be called. The name goes back to when he first started work at the Foundry, never known why it was given to him , but it stuck, Like his elder brother Tom, was always known as “Shackles”, & the youngest brother(Fred) too had a nickname (which I can’t now remember) a maltster who lived at Gt. Yarmouth.

Triffler was by trade a fitter & turner, a very clever tradesman, he was trained an engineer at “The Farmers Foundry” when at a period the Company was acknowledged as builders of steam stationary & portable engines of very high repute & distinction, designed soley on the drawing board by the late Thomas Cooper  managing director & chief engineer, who created the King’s Lynn firm of Coopers Roller Bearing Engineering Co Ltd. a world known company in engineering.


In these times, the big steam engineering firms: Fowlers of Leeds, Burrels of Thetford Norfolk, Marshalls of Gainsborough, Robeys of Lincoln & Ransomes of Ipswich & a few more not so well known, they all sent their engineers to Ryburgh to visit the works & to see how everything was soley man made in the forges & in the machine shop, for those big companies were making & producing every part with the aid of modern appliances, in fact the starting of the mass production system, which today is common knowledge in every manufacturing company or group. Such was the interest taken in the Ryburgh built steam engines & machinery. This is the reason that Ryburgh ranked so high in the engineering world, for many of its engines were made for South Africa, these being the “digger” type, which ploughed the land.

Ryburgh & its industries, being the large maltings, flour mills & granaries, with the huge amount of activities going on at the railway station, was indeed a prosperous village, & had these survived, the village could now have been the center of industry, which is now coming to new estates in the near by towns. A record like this should not be allowed to be forgot or to some new dwellers in the village not known about. Men like Triffler, though not knowing it, made Ryburgh high up in esteem, in so many fields of industry, both in this country & abroad, the village still has the much larger maltings & a new engineering firm on the site of the old foundry, marking it on the map for producing malt & pneumatic machinery. There are not many folk now who are able to look back on such thoughts as I have done in this rather “muddled mardle”. I hope it may be of interest & help, for to me it wll never be otherwise, though I left the village in 1924, a trained engineer of early life, to find a wider knowledge in engineering & new methods of production, but found very few men trained in the full sections of engineering as I was under Triffler and my other workmates at the Ryburgh Foundry.

I retired in 1968, from the large toolroom of the world  (38 years service) wide firm The Morgan Crucible Co, Battersea.

Many thanks to Eric and Jean Pilch for the opportunity to transcribe this letter

Percy Ellison lived at Wensum House.

copyright 2014

Page last updated: Saturday 19th July 2014 12:42 AM
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