Tributes to Stamford businessman who forged a life in the foundry
There’s a good chance you will have spotted part of Ernie Tyers’ legacy to Stamford without ever knowing it.
The River Welland plaques that adorn the town bridge, and the Stamford Town Hall plaque are among the life's work of Ernest Tyers, who died last month aged 94.
Hard-working Ernie lived in Stamford for all but the last three years of his life, forging a happy family life as well as a successful business before finally retiring aged 88.
He married Olive Baker in April,1952, and lived in Scotsgate before setting up their family home in Masterton Road with their children Charles and Anne.
But a large portion of his days were spent in the tough, dangerous environment of the iron foundry, dedicating his life to his career and his family.
“Dad lived for work, he loved what he did,” said Anne.
“He would get home from working all day and then do his books at night.
“He was very content and a proper family man with a heart of gold. If he could help anyone in any situation he would.”
Ernie was brought up by his grandmother at Lambeth Walk, before moving back to his parents' Essex Road home at 14 when he started work at Thomas Gibson & Son Foundry in Star Lane (now Hanover Court).
Starting work as an apprentice foundry man moulder, his first task was to follow the Co-op horse with a wheelbarrow and shovel and collect its dung, one of the ingredients in the making of cores used in the foundry.
Ernie moved to Brotherhoods in Peterborough, tackling the daily commute by bike before returning to Gibsons, where he mastered the trade and remained until its closure in 1971.
He achieved his life's goal by setting up T & M Castings with colleague Colin Mee at Langtoft Fen, near Market Deeping, which ran succcessfully until a downturn in the industry forced its closure in 1983.
But Ernie soon launched a second business, F & G Foundry, in Baston Fen with Bert Flatters, which he sold six years later, now aged 63.
Yet retirement remained without appeal as he joined friend Phil Gibbons to form M&E Castings which counted Burghley House among its clients, commissioning a new chain with special iron diamonds.
"His job was his hobby and his hobby was his job," said son Charles.
"He knew all his customers personally and had known several of them from the 1970s."
On medical advice, Ernie reluctantly sold M&E Castings to one of his employees in 2001, but with Charles having followed his father into the foundry, the family started Fenland Non Ferrous Castings.
The Langtoft Fen-based business remains in the family as Fenland Casting, with Charles at the helm. His nephew, Martin Stubbs, is the latest generation of the family to have been trained by Ernie, and he now works at the South Lincs Foundry in Spalding.
Throughout Ernie’s working life he produced castings in all metals from aluminium, brass, cast iron, gun metal and various bronzes, including several castings of new names on the Broad Street war memorial.
In the 1970s, Ernie also arranged the removal of a cracked bell and its subsequent re-installation at All Saints Church where he was an accomplished bellringer.
In his little remaining spare time, Ernie played piano in a dance band with his friend Ron Licence, and enjoyed family holidays in Great Yarmouth, the Cotswolds and Wales.