Brinsbury College opened the doors to its newly rebuilt forging facility on March 27, 2018. The forge, which cost $283,728 to rebuild and refurbish, was built to accommodate the growing number of students interested in pursuing blacksmithing and farriery.
Shelagh Legrave, chief executive of the Chichester College Group (which includes Brinsbury College), oversaw the reopening of the forge with Kevin Willard, president of the British Association of Farriers and Blacksmiths. Among those invited to see the new forge were local blacksmiths and farriers, and representatives from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. Those in attendance were treated to live demonstrations put on by the students.
“At the heart of this refurbishment are our students,” says Legrave. “The opportunities for them to move into employment are wide and far-reaching, so it was great to showcase our facilities to some of our supportive employers and, hopefully, demonstrate where their future employees will enjoy first-rate training.”
“There is a great tradition of farriery and blacksmithing in this country, and it is encouraging to see Brinsbury looking to the future while also preserving the tradition,” says Willard.
The forge, which has been in use for roughly 15 years, has been outfitted with equipment that meets current industry standards. This includes a welding facility and power hammer, as well as coke, ceramic chip and gas forges.
Peter Clutterbuck, one of the blacksmiths who came to the reopening, was impressed by the college’s updates to the forge and reflected on how education can enhance the skills of young blacksmiths and farriers.
“I think if you’ve got good teaching though, you have a good facility and we see that in Patrick, one of my team who studied at Brinsbury,” says Clutterbuck. “We’ve seen the benefits in him having that college training and grounding, his methodical learning shows in his development with us.”