William Langford Fisher


1841 was an eventful year for William Langford Fisher. During the summer he married Ann Faircloth in Royston, Hertfordshire and in the same year, aged 28 years, he also took over his uncle’s ironmongery shop in Oundle.

Fisher was ambitious and worked hard to develop the well-respected ironmongery business in Oundle. In addition, by 1851, he had also diversified and was trading in coal, timber, slate, oil and seedcake.


He was also keen to manufacture ironmongery as well as carrying out repairs to broken items. Fisher needed to find a suitable site for this and he subsequently obtained land in Thrapston on the site of the current Bridge Hotel. The cottages there at the time were used by his employees and they now form the basis for the Bridge Hotel.

It is there that he established a foundry which he called the Neneside Iron Works. Its proximity to the river wharf provided access to the river for his supplies and transport of his finished goods.

Nathaniel Smith

In 1853 Fisher advertised for machine fitters and smiths in the Northampton Mercury. In the following year, Nathaniel Smith joined the firm as Manager and soon demonstrated his expertise and skill with the many inventions that he developed for the ironworks.

Fisher’s Death

Tragically, William Langford Fisher died in 1858 and his businesses were sold.

George Siddons purchased the coal, timber, slate, oil and seedcake business. The Oundle ironmongery shop was taken over by Edmund Peach, who had previously worked for Fisher.

The Neneside Ironworks in Thrapston was purchased by the Smith family.

The Neneside Ironworks was created by a dynamic man who sadly did not live long enough to see its success. However, if he had lived longer the foundry may not have been sold to the Smith family and this aspect of local history would have been so different.


The Oundle ironmongery shop was situated on Market Place, opposite Bramston House. When Edmund Peach died in 1891, the shop building was passed to relatives but it was eventually sold to Oundle School in 1917 to become its bookshop.


Neil Busby
Reference: 1841 – 1891 Censuses, BMD Records, Northampton Mercury.