Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,981 pages of information and 233,621 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
1862 Made a large Cornish pumping engine for Talacre Lead Mine, near Rhyl, with a 100" diameter steam cylinder 
1865 Serious fire at Birley & Thompson's Haigh Foundry
1865 Death of two employees, Alexander Pearson (27) and Thomas Smith (15), killed by escaping steam when attempting to tighten a bolt on a leaking boiler mud-hole
Birley & Thompson concentrated on heavy engineering but made at least two locomotives and quoted unsuccessfully for the Festiniog Railway's 'Prince' class. The company produced stationary engines including a 100" x 14 ft stroke beam engine for the Talargoch Lead Mine (the engine house survives) and a 1000 h.p. McNaught compound beam engine for a cotton spinning mill. Other examples were supplied to many Lancashire collieries.
Until 1860, everything that Haigh Foundry made had to be hauled up the steep and twisting Leyland Mill Lane. Teams of up to 48 horses were needed, many hired from local farmers. However a railway line was built from the Earl of Crawford & Balcarres' colliery network at Aspull in 1860 and was replaced in 1869 by a link from the Lancashire Union Railway's 'Whelley' loop.
The foundry designed and built large winding, pumping and mill engines, heavy engineering and architectural castings until early 1885. The firm's assets were sold in September of that year. Many of the foundry buildings survive along with two cast iron bridges used by the works railway line. Part of the premises is still an iron foundry, though on a somewhat smaller scale.