The Community of Brize Norton

Brize Norton Village Blacksmith

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Fred Bellinger writes


Brize Norton Blacksmiths from 194O's


The blacksmiths workshop/forge in the 1940's and probably before was where "Anvil Croft” is now, a compact workshop with a Forge and all the tools and equipment needed to ply the trade, which in those days included Horse Shoeing , farming and agricultural repairs, basic plumbing, general village needs including fitting new handles to forks/shovels plus making gates and railings etc and general builders Ironwork.


Albert Print was the blacksmith who along with his assistant John Cambray made many fine gates and railings, all in the old fashioned way with riveted joints and haunches. (No welding).  The recreation ground and Church gates are fine examples Most of the raw materials came via the railway and had to be collected by tractor and trailer and occasionally horse and cart


In the early 50's Albert Print retired and the business was taken over by John Cambray.   St the workshop moved into the Wheelwrights building adjacent to the "Kithicks" , previously owned by Mr Packer who was a carpenter, builder and undertaker.  The old forge was kept for storage purposes for a while.


By now a massive expansion was taking place on the airfield and much of the blacksmiths time was taken up making component parts and maintenance for the airfield contractors, the workforce by now had grown to 5/6 to cope with this influx of work and also the growing local farming needs.


More workshops and machinery were added to the ” Kithicks” complex to cope with the extra work Involved by the blacksmiths, now running as ”J & P Cambray”.  John Cambray decided he wanted to go into farming and in 1964 the business was taken over by Fred Bellenger & Larry Clarke still under the J & P Cambray Logo.


Local Farmers machinery was becoming more reliable and farmers were repairing their own equipment up to a point and local builders, quarries and government departments were now the main clients.


Blacksmiths had now become Steel Fabricators taking on much bigger steel framed contracts over a much wider area.


By the 70's the "l(ithicks” premises were becoming too small for the increased work load and the now much larger delivery lorries to access and in 1974 the business moved on to bigger premises on "Bromag" Estate, Minster Lovell, thus ending Blacksmithing in Brize Norton.


Fred Bellenger 2020







Phil Holmes  Updated on Tuesday 17 June 2016