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Thirsk ironworkers satisfy burning ambition to innovate

[Thursday 21 September 2006]

THE world's only supplier of genuine wrought iron bar - based right here in the Yorkshire Dales - has taken advantage of a government grant and developed a new way to cut its fuel costs.

wrought iron gate
A wrough iron gate produced by
Chris Topp and Company

Chris Topp and Company, based in Thirsk, undertakes a variety of work using traditional blacksmith techniques and materials and is involved in restoring historic ironwork, archaeology and bespoke metalwork.

The company received a research and development grant that is aimed specifically at small businesses and used it to implement an up-to-date process to manufacture new wrought iron out of scrap material in a specially designed furnace.

Funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and managed by Regional Development Agency Yorkshire Forward, the money has allowed the furnace to be developed and it is now at the testing stage.

Mr Topp said: "We hope the new furness will allow us to save on fuel and improve the technique to make wrought iron which in turn will hopefully fuel the expansion of our company."

Following the Thirsk success Yorkshire Forward is now keen to encourage other innovative small companies in the North Yorkshire area to follow suit and apply for grants of their own.

We hope the new furness will allow us to save on fuel and improve the technique to make wrought iron which in turn will hopefully fuel the expansion of our company

Chris Topp - Chris Topp and Company

Jim Farmery, head of innovation at Yorkshire Forward, said: "People seem to think that it is only the large, multi-national companies that can come up with the latest products and innovations, but there are plenty of smaller companies out there - like Chris Topp and Company - with great ideas.

"What they often lack is the financial support or resource to develop these ideas, which is why Yorkshire Forward is committed to supporting the Grant for R&D scheme and urge companies to get involved.

"The beauty of this scheme is that it is open for applications year round, which means eligible companies can get on board at any time."

Companies interesting in applying should visit the business finance section at www.yorkshireforward.com

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