£50,000 to forge ahead with living museum

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A PROJECT to bring history to life by turning a historic blacksmith’s forge into a living museum has been awarded £50,000 Lottery funding.

Chain Bridge Forge in Spalding’s High Street has been given the cash so the team behind it can press ahead with grand plans which would see the old building’s roof and walls repaired before people move in to catalogue many artefacts of a bygone time which are still inside.

Geoff Taylor, the driving force behind the forge project, then hopes those, along with records from the forge’s last blacksmith Geoff Dodd, will be turned into a story which will be retold to visitors through visual and audio displays and working demonstrations.

He also hopes to incorporate people’s memories of what he calls the “working end” of Spalding into the “living history”.

He said: “This money signals a big step forward for the project and we are really delighted to have been awarded it.

“This project started out as a romantic idea of preserving this historic forge, but it quickly turned into a business and we have now got to make it pay.

“We have really got our work cut out for us but we want to build all this history and memories into a big picture and then open the forge to the public.”

Other plans in the pipeline include forging links with local schools as well as holding training courses in cataloguing, historical research and photography, among others.

The public will get a chance to see progress and share their own memories and stories at an archaeology day to be held on July 29, which will also mark the official handover of the project to the Friends of Chain Bridge Forge.

For more information visit www.chainbridgeforge.co.uk