The colliery blacksmith

Jeff and some of his collection of lamps.

This is Jeff Page, he’s a volunteer at the Nottingham Industrial Museum at Wollaton Hall.

He’s shy and he wouldn’t stay still to have his photograph taken, which is why he’s a bit blurred.

A step back in time.

This picture isn’t blurred though. This is on display in the museum – I photographed the photograph through the display cabinet glass.

I think Jeff is in this picture, but I’m not sure which one he is. It was taken at Clifton Colliery where he was a blacksmith, like his father before him. In fact I think his father is also in the photo.

The colliery closed in 1968 but Jeff did his apprenticeship there. His apprenticeship certificate is proudly displayed inside the little shed that Jeff has at the Industrial Museum.

His shed at Nottingham Industrial Museum houses a blackmith’s forge, tools and irons as well as part of his huge collection of lamps.

You can see some of them hanging in his shed in the first photo.

He has lamps from the turn of the last century to more modern ones. They are from railways, streets, mines. In one of them he has installed a clock face. Another has coloured plates for signalling on the railway. You turn the top to signal different colours. There is a red screen for stop, a clear screen and a blue screen for go (the orange lamp inside makes the blue turn green).

More of his lamps are displayed inside the  museum so even if Jeff isn’t there to open his little shed, you see some of his collection. He gets them from auctions, antiques fairs and industrial sales.

Jeff’s intricate blade.

When Jeff isn’t explaining all about his lamp collection, he is working on his blacksmith forge in the traditional way.

He makes the most beautiful wrought ironwork – bunches of long-stemmed roses for your home or garden, a ram’s head on top of a fire iron, they are incredible.

The knife (pictured above) is made from alternating layers of hard and softer metal, heated, hammered, folded, heated and hammered again and again. Holes are drilled into it before it’s heated and folded and hammered again.

It’s bathed in acid and the softer layers are eroded to form the pattern. Then it’s polished.

Jeff had one where the pattern looked like woodgrain. Both knives were beautiful and such a lot of work had gone into them.

It was lovely chatting to him and his little shed is like an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures.

Indy.

And all the while we were chatting to him, this little fella was sitting on Jeff’s overalls on a bench outside the little workshop.

His name is Indy, he’s named after the Industrial Museum :)

Find out more about Nottingham Industrial Museum here.

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4 comments
  1. Posting pieces about the people you meet is a great idea Dory and this was a very interesting portrait.

    • Thanks James, we meet so many unique people I really want to start writing about them (apart from anything else, so I don’t forget in my old age lol)

  2. Love this post I grew up in a pit village my dad was an electrician at Glasshougton and descended from generations of coal face workers

    • Thank you, he was such a lovely man and so full of enthusiasm about his work and his collection :)

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