Sulgrave Village Advent Calendar Windows 2021 – No. 20 – The Old Forge, Church Street

Disaster strikes! Paul tested positive for the coronavirus and it was decided that the unveiling party should be cancelled. This was a shame because he and Brian had created a vibrant, brightly coloured window as an antidote to the utterly miserable, dank December night. A Spanish theme. However, Paul briefly left his sick bed to wave bravely from an upstairs window whilst Brian stood guard to ensure that no revellers disturbed his recovery.

More pictures on the next page (Click on “Read the rest of this entry”)










Newer village residents might like to see this photograph of the Old Forge when it was a thriving blacksmith’s shop:

This image dates from the late 1940s. Two horses are being shod, one by the then blacksmith, George Gascoigne and the other by his youngest son, Bernard. George was then the eldest of the well established Gascoigne family. He lived to a ripe old age but, sadly, Bernard succumbed to cancer in his thirties. The man with the shotgun, Marcus Linton, also came to a sad end at around that time. He was a regular army officer, home on leave and staying with his mother in Church Cottage (now the home of Hywel and Ingram Lloyd). Soon after his return from leave he was sent with some kind of military deputation to Russia, where he was killed in a helicopter crash.

George at work in the forge. When my father was an 18 year old in 1930, he and the other boys frequently gathered in the warmth of the blacksmith’s shop on a winter’s evening when their funds didn’t run to a pint at the nearby Six Bells Inn:

Their presence was not only tolerated but welcomed by George, partly to “pump the bellows” but also to help with the major task of shrinking a newly made iron tyre onto a wooden cart wheel. The wheel would be laid on the floor and the enormous metal band forming the tyre would be passed through the furnace until red hot before being placed carefully around the periphery of the wheel. It would then be quenched with buckets of cold water, contracting as it cooled until it pulled the wooden wheel tightly together. A number of young men with long handled grips were needed for this procedure.

Colin Wootton


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