Fire dies out at historic Lincolnshire smithy
The tiny village of Thorganby near Binbrook has been home to a smithy since the late 18th century – and quite possibly even longer than that.
However, the forge fire finally went out earlier this year following the death of Nick Hurst, the last in a line of blacksmiths who kept the Wolds smithy going through challenges ranging from the mass manufacturing of the industrial revolution to the passing of the horse-drawn age and even the high-tech mechanisation of 21st century agriculture.
Next week, its equipment . . . and a hoard of vintage treasures . . . go under the auctioneer’s hammer.
Following the closure of the business, auctioneers Eddisons CJM have been instructed to put the entire contents of the forge under the hammer in an auction that is to take place next Friday, October 23.
Auctioneer Paul Cooper said: “The Thorganby forge has actually outlasted almost all of the county’s historic village smithies, indeed most of the country’s smithies.
“Nick’s father bought the business back in the 1960s . . . a time when the craft of blacksmithing came very close to extinction . . . and he, followed by Nick kept it going for another half a century.”
The auction is expected to attract lot of interest thanks to a catalogue that includes thousands of pounds worth of good quality kit - and some quite unexpected historical finds in the smithy.”
Mr Cooper said: “The high value items are of course the machinery and heavy equipment.
“We have a press brake, which is a machine for bending sheet steel, which is expected to make £5,000 to £6,000.
“There is also a wide variety of good quality welding plant, an impressive blacksmith’s power hammer and a forklift truck, as well as the actual forge, with all the anvils, hammers, tools and materials you would expect to find in a well equipped engineering workshop.
“But in addition, the preparation for the auction unearthed some wonderful vintage items that were stored away in obscure corners of the smithy – just in case they were ever needed.
“Some of them have been awaiting the call since Queen Victoria was on the throne!”
A shady part of the yard yielded a horse-drawn duck foot harrow, which is a piece of farming equipment that was used to break up and smooth the ground.
Mr Cooper said: “We think that is late Victorian or Edwardian.”
He continued: “We’ve also got a jig for making the iron hoops that were needed to bind wooden cartwheels.
“And there are various bits and pieces for vintage tractors, things such as an aluminium Fordson Major radiator grille (E27 model), a metal Ford tractor toolbox (probably 1,000 series) and so on.
“These were once unwanted bits and pieces, but now thanks to the modern passion for vintage tractor restoration, they are original, rare and desirable.”
He added: “One find that caused a few moments of excitement was a number of what appeared to be cannon balls.
“That would have been a great find - and not impossible given that the big house in the village, Thorganby Hall, was smashed up by the Roundheads during the Civil War.
“Sadly the balls turned out to be solid iron finials for gates and gate pillars.”
Work from the Thorganby smithy can be seen throughout the Wolds area.
Signs on the approach roads to Binbrook and seats scattered throughout the village and further afield all came from the Hurst workshop.
The full auction catalogue is available at www.eddisonscjm.com.
The viewing session is on Thursday October 22 at The Forge in Thorganby.
The online auction is scheduled to end at 1pm on Friday October 23.