A Blacksmith in the 19th century would be an important part of village life, to repair wagons, farming implements and shoe horses
The Post Office Trade Directory of 1855 records that Joseph Mee was a Blacksmith at Griffydam. This is interesting, in that he would have been the grandfather of Edgar Mee who was at the Blacksmith’s Shop in Pegg’s Green in the 1950s. Edgar related in his interview with the Coalville Times that his grandfather came to run the blacksmith’s shop at Pegg’s Green from Griffydam in the 1850’s when the current blacksmith had been “transported” for stealing iron.
In the Pegg’s Green 1851 census, Joseph Mee is living with his family on Froggat’s Lane (formerly an extension of the Hinckley to Melbourne turnpikeroad and now Griffydam, Top Road). His profession is given as a Blacksmith, and presumed to be working at the blacksmith’s shop described below.
An old resident of the village described a rather strange shaped building, which was used as a “Blacksmith’s Shop” on the north end of what was known as “Rose Cottage” shown in the 1958 photograph. As this cottage was on the Ashby to Rempstone Turnpike road it was strategically placed, especially being opposite the Waggon and Horses. The property is marked B on the 1903 O/S map and the strange shaped extension can be clearly seen on the end of the cottage. The property was directly opposite the horse stables belonging to the Waggon & Horses which are marked A on the map. The Waggon & Horses is marked C.
Wagons would have continually broken down, with the horses losing shoes whilst travelling up Nickerson’s (slang for Nicklinson) Hill on the Rempstone Turnpike Road. The horses stabled there could well have been used to assist in helping to pull the wagons weighing up to 4 tons up the steep hill. Other stables for horses presumably used for farm work as well were situated at the back of the Inn. In the sale documents of 1927 they had stabling for up to seven horses.
There is no blacksmith recorded in the 1851 census at Griffydam but in 1861 (after Joseph Mee had left to go to Pegg’s Green) John Massey, aged 41, is listed as a blacksmith living with his wife Zilpha (47) and family members. No further records have been found of a blacksmith residing in Griffydam, until the September 1939 registration document lists George W Hyman and his son living at “Rose Cottage”. The father’s occupation is given as a “Shoeing Smith” and he was also a Special Constable. He was born on 7th May 1887. On the 1911 census he is listed as living on Derby Road, Ashby de la Zouch with his occupation given as “Blacksmith”.
Edgar Mee At Work
Rose Cottage 1958 - The Blackmith's Shop Arrowed