Forg­ing an in­ter­est­ing fu­ture from 19th cen­tury out­build­ing

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES - HENRY DY­HOUSE,

Af­ter it ceased to be used as a forge, the build­ing was used for stor­age un­til the site was sold for devel­op­ment in 1982 and the build­ing was do­nated to Chiltern Open Air Mu­seum. By this time it had de­te­ri­o­rated sig­nif­i­cantly and was in a very di­lap­i­dated state.

The forge in­cor­po­rates a wide va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als.

The walls are bricks, many of which have the ini­tials ‘JC’ cast in them (in­di­cat­ing their pro­duc­tion at John Chap­man’s brick­works at Buck­nalls Lane, Garston) – over 7,200 were used in the build­ing’s reerec­tion, 70% of which were orig­i­nal.

The forge was orig­i­nally sit­u­ated in a yard and, to recre­ate this en­vi­ron­ment, the Mu­seum has built a brick and flint wall out­side it. Such walls are typ­i­cal of the Chiltern area.

Vis­i­tors can look out for a brick with the im­pres­sion of a Vic­to­rian cat’s paw, ob­vi­ously pressed into the clay be­fore it was fired, to­wards the back of the forge!

The forge is now used to demon­strate tra­di­tional black­smith skills; for black­smith ex­pe­ri­ence days and has been used for film­ing in sev­eral tele­vi­sion dra­mas (it gained re­cent no­to­ri­ety as the mur­der scene in ‘The Sus­pi­cions of Mr Whicher’).

IN­TER­PRE­TA­TION AS­SIS­TANT

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