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Mardler Feb 2018

Local History Around the

Local History Around the walls of the smithy hung all sorts of instruments for holding and bending metal and various sizes of pre-made horseshoes. There was also an anvil to beat the hot metal against, various hammers and a selection of nails. A bucket of water stood nearby for cooling the red hot metal after shaping. First the old shoe had to be removed with pliers, by holding the horse's leg between his own legs. This was a quick job unless the horse protested. The blacksmith tried various new shoes for size, just by holding them against the horse's hoof. Then, having selected a suitable shoe, he noted how its shape needed fine adjustments and set about reshaping it. He held the new shoe in the red-hot coals until it too became red or even white-hot and he reshaped it by beating it onto the anvil. Once the blacksmith was satisfied with the new shape and while the shoe was still hot, he held it against the horse's hoof while it was nailed into place, a painless process of course for the horse. In addition to shoeing horses, the blacksmith made iron hurdles, harrows and other farm implements. With the gradual mechanisation of farms and the consequent drop in the number of horses employed on the land, Mr Reeve said it had become increasingly difficult to make a reasonable living at the Forge, in spite of the fact that in recent years quite a number of other Smiths in the immediate area have been forced out of business for the same reason. By 1962 the number of customers during the previous 12 months could be counted on the finger of his two hands. Harold installed petrol pumps on the premises to help financially and took a job as a relief boiler attendant at the Syleham Mill clothing factory. But it wasn’t enough to keep the smithy going so Harold and his wife Annie, who had helped him at the forge, retired to their newly built bungalow within a stone’s throw of their old home adjoining the forge. Harold and Annie Reeve are both buried in Brockdish Churchyard. [Brockdish forge closure reported in South Norfolk News, Friday, February 23, 1962. Thanks to John Spooner for this cutting from his ‘lucky dip’.] 18

FUN EXERCISE DANCE CLASS FOR ALL AGES JUST COME ALONG IN YOUR NORMAL CLOTHES (NO GYM WEAR REQUIRED!!) BROCKDISH VILLAGE HALL TUESDAYS 7.15 PM – 8.30 PM £4.00 per session Any enquiries contact Tracey 07854 943490 Information MOBILE LIBRARY Visits Brockdish and Thorpe Abbotts every four weeks on a Thursday, calling at: Brockdish 11:40 am Waveney Heights Brockdish 12 noon Grove Road Thorpe Abbotts 12:15 pm Telephone Box / Post Box Next scheduled visits are: Thursday 1 st February Thursday 1 st and 29 th March 19

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