A new forge at Brinsbury College has been hailed as a ‘fantastic facility’ to train the farriers and blacksmiths of the future.
The Chichester College campus unveiled the new £200,000 workshop on Tuesday (March 27), rebuilt and installed with cutting edge technology and traditional tools.
Shelagh Legrave, chief executive of the Chichester College Group, opened the forge with Kevin Willard FWCF, President of the British Association of Farriers and Blacksmiths.
Shelagh said: “We have run blacksmithing and creative metalwork courses here for some 15 years, and it has expanded greatly.
“Our provision includes heritage and creative blacksmithing, as well as courses in armour making.
“As we have grown, it became clear the facility needed an overhaul to meet the demand from students – as well as industry advancements.
“We wanted to create a modern facility whilst keeping a traditional craft alive.
“So, it gives me great pride that our forge staff were all involved in creating this new space, and we give our thanks to them, to our estates manager Kevin White for managing the project and to the contractors who worked so hard to make it a reality.
“At the heart of this refurbishment are our students.
“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.”
The college welcomed a host of guests for the opening, including several local farriers and blacksmiths, employers, as well as representatives from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths.
They were treated to a look around the new facility, with student demonstrations taking place throughout the evening.
Peter Clutterbuck, a designer blacksmith based in Southsea, said: “I think it’s marvellous – very impressive.
“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. “We’ve seen the benefits in him having that college training and grounding, his methodical learning shows in his development with us.”
Equipment includes coke, ceramic chip and gas forges as well as a welding facility and power hammer.
It is hoped the combination of facilties will ensure the college’s blacksmith and farriery students will be able to learn using a variety of techniques.
Mr Willard said: “It is a fantastic facility and I’m very pleased to see the college investing in the industry.
“There is a great tradition of farriery and blacksmithing in this country, and it’s is encouraging to see Brinsbury looking to the future while also preserving the tradition.”
To find out about farriery and blacksmith courses at Chichester College, visit www.chichester.ac.uk