Sunday, November 02, 2008

Favorite Photo: A Fine Smithy

I have an idea to publish my collection of photos of blacksmith shops, smithies, smiddies and forges but I keep finding photos of ones that I haven't seen yet, so I guess I have to keep traveling for another decade or so. I'd like to have a war room type of map with the location of all the old shoeing shops marked on it. What a lofty goal that is: an architectural treasure hunt!

Of equal interest to the ones that survived are the ones that didn't. What has replaced the old blacksmith shops? A busy shop once stood in the middle of Times Square in Manhattan!

But as fast as shoeing shops crumble and decay from abandonment or are rehabbed into restaurants and condominiums, clever people are building new ones. Or dressing up the old ones.

So we come to this image from the bulging "favorite photos" file. This fine shop is in Gonalston, Nottinghamshire, in Great Britain. As fine as the smithy may be, the phone booth just puts the frosting on the cake.

There's a verse over the door that reads:
"Gentlemen, as you pass by,
pray on this shoe cast your eye.
If it's too strait we'll make it wider.
Twill ease the horse and please the rider.
If lame by shoeing (as they sometimes are),
you can have them eased with the greatest of care."

The photo above is generously loaned by Iain Paterson who adds that he dedicated it to his wife, Jodi, "who is descended from a line of blacksmiths." She must feel right at home.

This snowy smithy in Poland has always been on my list of favorites.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing for Iain Paterson. No use without permission.