History

For centuries blacksmiths were at the centre of every community, providing the essential services of shoeing horses, making and mending metal tools  and wheels.. The Forge is fascinating example with many original features and closely tied to Spalding’s history as a port and market town.

The Forge has its origins in the mid 1700’s but building as seen today was constructed in the early nineteenth century, the forge came into the possession of Mr George Dodd in 1899. The family worked from these premises for three generations, during a period which saw a steady decline in the blacksmith’s role. Adapting to this change Mr Geoffery Dodd, George’s grandson, spent much of his career designing and building the frames for floats in Spalding’s Flower Parade.

In the 1980s, nearing retirement and with the building in a poor state of repair, Mr Dodd approached the South Holland District Council (SHDC) to take on the forge. After two years of discussions the site was purchased from him by SHDC for the nominal fee of £1, on September 20th 1988.

In 2011 The Friends of Chain Bridge Forge were formed and took the Forge on a 25 year lease. The Heritage Lottery Fund award the Forge £50,000 to restore the Forge and make it accessible. This award was followed by £10,000 to record the history of the community.

Forge History

Mid 1700’s – Origins of the Forge

1800′s – Building is purpose built as a Blacksmith’s workshop and in the ownership of Joseph Rose. Click here to read more about this family

1826 – White’s Directory shows Francis South was Blacksmith at this time

1850 – 1860 – Accounts show the Blacksmith was servicing the boats at Spalding Port

1899 – The Dodd Family take ownership of the Forge

20th Century – 3 Generations of the Dodd Family worked the forge

1960′s – 70′s – Geoffery Dodd designs and builds many of the frames for the floats in Spalding’s famous Flower Parade

1988 – The South Holland District Council agree to purchase the forge from Mr Dodd for the nominal fee of £1

2010 – Work begins on developing the site into a museum and the Friends are founded the following year

2012 – Forge is officially open to the public on the 8th of September

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