The Old Smithy has always played a central part in the history of the village of Mawnan Smith near Falmouth.
The village formerly supported no less than four smithies that served the farms and mines in the local district. Late in 2019, Nigel took over the tenure of The Old Smithy Workshops at the Anvil trust Craft Centre, Carwinion Road. Mawnan Smith, a small Cornish village near Falmouth. Mawnan Smith was the place where both his parents had worked and where Nigel spent most of his childhood and teenage years, attending the village school and church in the village. This is the place where he definitely felt at home, where he has a real sense of belonging to the community. Fulfilling the central village blacksmiths role has been a dream come true for him. He can vividly recall the old blacksmith Dryden James as a childhood memory and he spent many happy hours watching this master of metalcraft work his magic.
Recently restored by the Trust, the Old Smithy has become both a working forge and a village museum dedicated to the way things used to be done in this close knit countryside community. As a working forge it has most of the original equipment in situ, it really is a treasure trove of bespoke hand made tools and equipment, some specifically designed by Dryden to repair individual items of machinery, many of which are now defunct.
Without the intervention of The Mawnan Anvil trust, the vast majority of these ancient tools and equipment would most probably have disappeared, much to the loss of the community. In additionto renovating the forge, the Trust has financed the creation of three additional craft workshops at The Mawnan Craft Centre. This is currently home to a traditional sign writer, a bespoke carpenter and a renowned silversmith.
Visitors have the opportunity to watch the craftworkers practise their skills, view various videos of former old blacksmiths in action or simply browse the unique and traditional hand finished products.
Here we have show cased a few of the more traditional style blacksmithing projects that Nigel has been making in the past few months, since moving here to the forge. He has been called upon to repair and recycle many a treasured house hold utensil and well worn favourite tool. Just as the village blacksmith would have done all those years ago.
The most challenging fabrication commission at the Smithy so far has been the total restoration of a large traditional trellis style porch at Goldmartin, Carlidnack Road, Mawnan Smith.
Designed to faithfully copy the original wooden porch, this piece took over 60 hours to complete and refit. It involved laser cutting the scalloped edged front panel, shaping and folding the copper roof, welding and constructing the complicated pattern of panels which had to then be grit blasted, primed and powder coated. A real labour of love, which will last many years to come.