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Tag Archives: Blacksmith

Traditional Crafts and Skills

The importance of crafts and skills in the past can be seen by the huge number surnames in the UK which are occupation driven such as Cook, Cooper, Taylor, Wright, Turner, Miller or Carter. As increasing industrialization means machines are doing more and more for us, is there still a place for these traditional occupations?

Craftsmanship

Although the majority of furniture bought in the UK is still bought as flatpack sets from large warehouses, there is still a thriving industry in bespoke furniture which is handmade from native woods such as oak. Carpenters and joiners are more in demand than ever as an increasing number of people want to invest in a quality piece of furniture which will last for generations, rather than a cheap MDF flatpack which will fall to bits in a few years. Carpenters and cabinet makers are also called upon to fit kitchens or create shelving solutions unlike anything that can be bought in the shops.

Blacksmiths and Farriers

In the past, the words blacksmith and farrier were used interchangeably, and both dealt with equine leg & hoof care. Nowadays, a blacksmith is as likely to be making wrought iron gates or fences as they are to be making horseshoes. A farrier however, is solely concerned with the care of horses. Even though most of us now travel by car, bus or train rather than by horse and cart, there is still a demand for the farrier’s services from people who ride recreationally. Stabled horses still require new shoes regularly, and the expertise of the farrier in equine leg & hoof care will also mean that owners can be advised of potential problems with their horse at the earliest opportunity.

Textiles and Weaving

The UK was once central to the world’s weaving and cotton industry but with the advent of cheap imports from the Far East, this industry is not as important as it once was. The UK still produces great quality textiles however, and names like Harris Tweed are known on a world platform. Quality is the watchword for British textiles, and brands such as Cath Kidston, Ness or Laura Ashley have been at the forefront of bringing back an interest in British design and textiles. Clothing manufacturers are still mainly producing clothes overseas due to the lower labour and raw material costs, but it is possible to buy British on the high street if the consumer is prepared to spend the time and effort hunting out locally designed and produced items.

Disappeared occupations

Some occupations and crafts which were essential in the past, such as making barrels, have all but disappeared. Barrels are now made in a factory rather than handmade by a cooper, and it is unlikely that there will be a return to traditional methods. Wheelwrights are no longer needed to make large wheels for carts, and the occupation of pump-maker disappeared with the advent of piped water into all of our homes. Cordwainers were previously an important occupation as they made shoes and other leather goods. Although there are still a few cordwainers working at the top end of the market, this occupation too has all but disappeared.

Citations:

The Equine Warehouse has some great products available for equine leg & hoof care, perfect for you to use on your horse.

 

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