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The Old Forge Willington

The Old Forge April 2010
The Old Forge April 2010

The Old Forge was listed by the former Department of Environment in May 1984 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 17th and 18th centuries. The buildings are of timber framed construction with red brick infill and partly rendered in colourwashed. They have old clay tile roofs and were originally two cottages set at right angles to each other, linked in the 18th century by an additional bay to the north of the east block and a lean-to between this and the north block, forming overall an L-plan. The buildings comprise one storey and attics. A 20th century lean-to lies at the left hand side of the east wing and the rear elevation has a later lean-to addition.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Willington, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Old Forge found it divided into three occupations [DV1/C154/110-112]. All three parts were owned by Isaac Godber of Manor Farm.

The left hand part of the property was the blacksmith’s business, occupied by Albert Edward Stacey who paid rent of £8 per annum. Accommodation comprised a shop measuring 18 feet by 15 feet and a shoeing shed measuring 9 feet by 14 feet. Two hoardings stood outside measuring 18 feet 6 inches by 13 feet and 6 feet by 6 feet 6 inches. The valuer commented: “Neglect”.

The right hand portion of the property was occupied by W. Mathews who paid rent of £2/8/3 per quarter. Accommodation comprised a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms, one of them in the roof over the smithy next door. A weather-boarded and tiled washhouse stood outside. The valuer commented: “Poor place”.

The portion of the property at right angles to the other two was occupied by W. Hartwell who, as an employee of Godber’s received the dwelling as part of his wages. Accommodation comprised a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms in the roof. A weather-boarded and tiled washhouse stood outside. The valuer considered this the best part of the whole property.

Directories for the county were published every few years by a number of sources. the most notable are Kelly's Directory. Below is a short list of occupiers of the building as revealed by directories. Entries are not the beginning and end dates of tenure but the first and last time the name is noted in a directory:

  • 1877: Thomas Wilkins;
  • 1898 to 1903: George Hart;
  • 1906 to 1910: Noah Thomas Hull;
  • 1924 to 1928: Albert Edward Stacey.
The Old Forge side view April 2010
The Old Forge side view April 2010