Old at­tic work­shop of­fers look into past

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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

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