Forging Forward


Photo 1: Wind Vane Designed & Made by Alex Rowe

Hereford has one of the few blacksmithing colleges in the country which includes the Hereford School of Farriery and artist blacksmithing. We have accommodated two student blacksmiths while we've been in Hereford: first, there was Tom Robinson (2008 - 2011), now running his own business in Suffolk, and, then Alex Rowe (2017 - 2020), back working in the family business as a fifth-generation blacksmith at Gittisham Forge.

Over the years, we've collected a few pieces including early test pieces made to demonstrate different skills & techniques of blacksmith artistry.

Photo 2: Pair of Snails by Alex Rowe

Photo 3: Dragon Door Catch by Tom Robinson

Photo 4: Toasting Fork by Alex Rowe, Poker and Wizard Candle Snuffer by Tom Robinson

Photo 5: Garden Bench by Tom Robinson & Nick Buchan

Photo 6: Tree of Life Gate by Tom Robinson & Nick Buchan

After Tom finished his basic blacksmith training, he went home but returned a few months later, after getting a job with Tramway Forge (no longer trading?) in Hereford, and stayed for a few months before finding his own place. Around 2013/14, Tom teamed up with Nick Buchan to run Gofannon Forge near Rhayader. While Tom was at Gofannon, he and Nick made our gate (Photo 6) and bench (Photo 5). The gate was for Mary's 60th birthday (2014) and the bench was a year or so later. The bench was originally made for one of the show gardens at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival (2015?); we were told James Alexander-Sinclair and Gregg Wallace had tested the bench out! Tom moved on to his new venture in Suffolk (post-2016); I'm not sure whether Gofannon Forge is still a going concern.

Alex is still a regular visitor popping in once or twice a year and he stays with us when volunteering as a steward at the Royal Welsh Show. He also resharpens my shredder blades which saves me a few bob! This year, Alex brought us a wind vane, part thank you and part 70th birthday present for me.

Video 1: Wind vane in action


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