Forging an interesting future from 19th century outbuilding
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’).