Old attic workshop offers look into past
AHISTORICAL workshop dating back to 1930s has been discovered in the attic of a near derelict building.
The equipment and documents - which have been in storage for more than 20 years - belong to Sean Bradbury and is the legacy of his family business J Bradbury and Son Farrier and Blacksmith.
The workshop - which dates back more than 100 years - contains hundreds of old tools, fixtures and fittings scattered amid old workbenches and storage units.
There was also a chest full of private documents and invoices. The business was set up by Sean’s great, great grandfather John Bradbury, and passed down through the generations to Sean’s grandfather James, and father Ron, who ran the business with Sean until 20 years ago when Sean decided to pursue other business interests.
While many of the tools are rusty and unusable, the discovery is a snapshot of the work that used to take place there.
John Hitcham and his friend Ken Crosby stumbled across the rooms above the former Bradbury and Sons engineering and blacksmiths on Chatham Street in Macclesfield town centre.
John, 46, said: “Walking into that workshop is like stepping back in time.”
John and Ken, 74, came across the building while looking for a place to set up their new venture Macclesfield Community Craft. John said: “There are tools and fitting from a by-gone era that you wouldn’t see in modern engineering workshop. It’s remarkable.”
John and Ken want to create a series of workshops to allow people of all ages to come and learn different trades and crafts. The friends have been allowed to rent the building for free in return for bringing it back to its former glory.
John, who is a volunteers for the successful Men In Sheds project run by Age UK Cheshire East, said: “I can see this place offering people the chance to practice metal work, wood work and other trades and crafts.
“It’ll be open to every- one, not just men. We want youngsters, women and the elderly getting involved. The aim is to be self-funding, by selling some of what we make to keep the project going.”
As well as the ‘hidden’ workshops, the building boasts a collection of old machines, some dating back 90 years, and a blacksmith’s forge.
There is also some more recent memorabilia laying around including a tin container commemorating the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana.
John, of Brookfield Lane, Macclesfield, said: “We’re under no illusions we’ve got our work cut out as the place is in a state of disrepair. But it has got great potential.”
John and Ken are now appealing for people to help their project get off the ground.
Pictures by Andy Lambert
John Hitchen outside the building in Chatham Street, Macclesfield, where the workshop was found
The workshop dates back to the 1930s
The room offers a snapshot of history