Cat no. 513

The Blacksmith

Running time12:28 Colour Sound 1977 Wroxham, Norfolk

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A blacksmith demonstrates his profession to a group of schoolchildren at his forge.

Genre:

Documentary

Shots of blacksmith Eric Stevenson at work at his forge in Wroxham. Shots of the A149 as it runs through Overstrand.

A mobile farrier arrives at the Overstrand riding Stables with a mobile furnace and shoes a horse. His tools and forge are shown in close-up. The film compares the trade directories for Norwich from 1890 and 1977 to show the decline in blacksmiths. In 1890, the list of blacksmiths covered five pages; in 1977 there were only fifteen individual blacksmiths listed.

The next sequence shows a small party of school children from Colman Road Middle School visiting Eric Stevenson's forge in Wroxham. He welcomes the party and shows them the Great Gates of St. Paul's Cathedral, which are in the workshop for renovation. The children ask questions about the blacksmith's work. Mr. Stevenson explains about how he makes a scroll, how a blacksmith joins pieces of metal and how to make a thin metal dish. A pupil asks about working in other metals. Mr. Stevenson explains that he also works in copper, brass, phosphor bronze and in silver. The party are shown elaborate gates that have been designed by Stephen Dykes Barr for St. John's Church, Newcastle. These are being made by Mr. Stevenson.

He demonstrates making scrolls from a flat mild steel bar. He shows how, if there are many identical shapes to be made, he first makes a former, to act as a pattern. The film shows modern equipment; an oxyacetylene torch, electric welding equipment and machine tools. The film shows the interior of St. Nicholas' Church, Yarmouth, one of Mr. Stevenson's location sites. Here he fitted the screen he had made and for which he won the gold medal of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths in 1970. A plaque in the Church commemorates this. The screen is shown in detail. The film ends with examples of a blacksmith's work, including the Wroxham village sign. There is a challenge to the viewer to find example for themselves.

Notes:

Eric Stevenson was awarded the BEM for organising local fire fighting units during World War II. He retired in 1977. Restoring the gates of St. Pauls was one of his last projects. The Screen of St. Nicholas' Church was made between 1963 and 1969.

Featured People:

Stephen Dykes Barr, architect; Eric Stevenson, blacksmith; RSN Peruzzi, farrier

Featured Organisations:

Colman Road Middle School; Norfolk County Council; The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths

Featured Buildings:

St. Nicholas' Church, Yarmouth

Norfolk County Council Education Department

Peter Hollingham

Peter Hollingham; Andrew Leah (camera assistant)

John Jennings (script co-ordinator)

Special thanks to Rural Crafts Study Group, Colman Road Middle School, Mr E.A. Stevenson, Mr R.S.N. Peruzzi

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