Frederick and Eliza Page moved to Much Hadham in 1811, they built a rear extension to accommodate a shoeing stall and opened the blacksmith’s shop. They also had 11 children, securing the future of the family business!
The business continued through four generations and Charles Page, was the last of the Page family blacksmiths. Born in 1891, his grandmother Eliza bought him his first skep of bees when he was five and he continued his beekeeping for the rest of his life. Aged 10, the young Charles decided that he wanted to be a policeman; however, he was needed in the forge.
Charles married and had a daughter, Constance Jean. He continued working the forge, shoeing horses and making decorative ironwork until he was 87 years old. Charles died in 1983, aged 91. It was in his memory that his daughter Jean first came up with the idea of starting a museum.
The working forge, is central to both the history of a family business that lasted over 170 years and the history of village life in Much Hadham. People are always coming to the museum with tales of pumping the bellows for Charlie Page as a child or bringing their ponies to be shod or Charlie arriving at their farm on his bicycle to cold shoe. All of these stories are crucial to the history of Much Hadham.
Today, the working forge is an added attraction for museum visitors, leased to artist blacksmith Richard Maynard. It cannot be guaranteed that Richard will be working on site during the museum’s opening hours, but if you are lucky enough, you will hear the ring of hammer on anvil and be able to peak through the door to get a glimpse of him at work.
A private demonstration. The charge is £30 for half an hour, up to 10 persons may be in the forge at any time. Please click here to book your visit (insert link to enquiry form).
An experience day. The experience is suitable for all levels. For one person: half day (4 hours) £80, whole day (8 hours) £150.For two people: half day (4 hours) £120, whole day (8 hours) £200.Insurance (compulsory) £30 per person.Click here to make a booking (insert link to enquiry form).
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