The Forge

The Forge

The forge was the hub of the village in the first half of the Century.

Situated next to the post office it was a great attraction to children who would vie for the pleasure of pumping the bellows. What a fascination to see the black embers gradually turning to dark red, then orange and finally white hot as the air was pumped through. The sight and sound of the smith as he removed the hot iron from the fire and hammered i t into shape on his anvil, sparks flying in all directions was so exciting; no protective gear was worn by the onlookers in those days. Oh! The smell of burning hoof as the hot shoe was positioned to bed it in for a perfect fit!
Being a farrier was only part of the blacksmith’s work. He would make and repair all kinds of farm implements from binders to elevators, harrows and plough patts as well as tools for small-holders and gardeners. He also worked in conjunction with the local wheelwright making metal parts for carts and wagons. Colin and Donald Moore tell of the number of implements parked outside and on the verge opposite awaiting repair, and as boys helping to paint tools.

By 1900 David Moore (no relation of Colin and Donald), and fondly known as ‘Blackie’, had taken over from his father, Robert, who had retired from smithing and was now the post­ master. David and his wife lived with his father-in-law, Mr Clarke, in one of the cottages on Storr’s Hill; the cottage was also known as the Cyclists’ Rest. He was suddenly taken ill and died in May 1916 aged 52 years.

Stephen Wilson took over the forge and remained until 1948. He lived in Rose Cottage and was as popular as David had been. It is said that Stephen was a keen cricketer, not the usual fast-bowler charging up the hill, but the wicket keeper whose hands were so hard from his work that he declined to wear the ‘keeper’s gloves.

Vic Deighton was the next smith. He was the first tenant in the newly-built No 1 Counci l House. Vic left in 1951 and went to Wellingore. The last blacksmith and farrier was Don Moore (again, no relation) and he moved into the council house vacated by Vic. A new workshop was built for him behind the forge and an electric blower installed for the furnace.

Don left in 1955 and the forge was used as a garage until 1981. Bob Oakes took over the forge for ornamental wrought-iron work for a few years before moving to Cold Hanworth. He moved to Aivingham near Louth for two years before returning to Cold Hanworth where he now runs a successful teaching school for blacksmiths. Emma Kirkland used the forge for making decorative candles and then for decorating pottery. She left to open a gift shop in Welton.

Jack Bettison