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Forge Cottage - 2 Rushden Road Milton Ernest

Forge Cottage 1962 [Z53/82/17]
Forge Cottage 1962 [Z53/82/17]

Forge Cottage is a pleasant building. It is recorded on the Historic Environment Record [HER] for the county [HER 5789]. The HER includes details of landscape feature, buildings past and present and archaeological finds from across the county and a summary of its records for each site can be viewed online. The entry for 2 Rushden Road states that it is an 18th century building built of colour-washed plaster over a timber frame and comprises two storeys beneath an old clay tiled roof. There is a small brick extension, colour-washed and with a clay tiled roof, at the left hand side.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 stated that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting 2 Rushden Road [DV1/C1/104] found that it was still a working smithy, owned and occupied by Charles Clarke.

The house comprised a parlour, a living room, a scullery and a washhouse downstairs, three bedrooms above. The valuer noted:“Water from pump”. The smithy was a brick and corrugated iron smithy with forge measuring 32 feet by 24 feet. There was also a timber and corrugated iron garage for two cars (“poor”) a petrol store (“old”) and a petrol pump and tank (“500 gallons?”). The valuer commented: “Nice house, old but attractive”.

Forge Cottage February 2011
Forge Cottage February 2011

Directories for Bedfordshire were published every few years from the middle of the 19th century until 1940. The following smiths are listed:

  • 1847, 1853: Samuel Bass; Joseph Covington;
  • 1854, 1862, 1864: Joseph Covington;
  • 1869: Mrs. Elizabeth Perry Covington;
  • 1877, 1885, 1890, 1894, 1898, 1903, 1906, 1910, 1914: Frederick Gambrell - probably shown in the photograph below;
  • 1920, 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936, 1940: Charles Clarke.

The blacksmith and the forge about 1900 [Z50/82/1]
The blacksmith and the forge about 1900 [Z50/82/1]