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Hell on earth in a foundry

AT one stage in his varied working life, my Dad did night shifts in a foundry.

I recall as a very young boy being taken by my Mam to visit him. Three things stick in my memory - the heat, the darkness and the rats, which jumped over the moulds and scuttled under the forges.

There was nothing at all congenial about such an environment, but working men in those days were more concerned about the certainty of a wage packet than personal gratification. Hence, Dad toiled away in this dark, fiery place for ten hours per shift to put bread on the table.

This picture depicts the scene - the dark foundry partly illuminated by fires, the men in goggles going about their work, the suffocating heat and the sulphurous smells. It's titled Night Foundry, but might as well have been called Hell on Earth.

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