Blacksmiths Shop

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Blacksmiths Shop
Location Boston Lodge on the east side of the Top Yard.
Register No 99
T. Corner ID BL012
Operational Yes
Heritage Status Grade 2 listed. All works that materially effect its character will require Listed Building Consent.
Historical significance Highly significant. This building dates from 1848. In 1856 it contained one hearth but two more were added later and a further two later still probably in 1877. In the mid 1850s possibly earlier the building was extended to the rear. Hand bellows from one of the forges survives at Minffordd in poor condition. Blacksmiths' tools may also be in store at Minffordd.
Cadw Blg ID 14413. Cadw listing includes No2 Machine Shop (former Foundry, FR No 100). Cadw listing text as follows:-

This range is amongst the first to be built after the opening of the railway in 1836, its function being essential to the building of rolling stock. Interior. The interior of the iron foundry retains deep brackets in one wall indicating position of the cupola hood. At rear are lateral chimneys and segmental arches into deep lean-to chambers. Exterior. Built of local slatey rubble with corrugated iron roof and wide eaves, bracketed to gable end. 4-bay iron foundry has voussoir-arched openings, 3 of which are filled in to base and given small-pane windows but the left hand one retains boarded door. Stepped back to left is 5-bay, slate-roofed, smithy which has similar round-arched openings of which alternate ones remain open as split boarded doors while the rest are converted, as in the foundry, into windows. Railway track at front with turntables to either end. Reason for Listing. Listed as part of this especially complete example of a C19 railway engineering works which has important historical associations with the Ffestiniog Railway. Group value with other listed items at Boston Lodge.

Description Solid stone walls under a duo pitched roof. Internally open to the roof.
Present use Storage of miscellaneous items of parts and machinery
Previous use Foundry (No 100) and Smithy (No 99)
Condition The building is generally sound but there are repairs and reinstatements need to the roof structure, walls and rainwater disposal. The stability of the chimney stack to the rear should be investigated. The "slenderness ratio" (the ratio of height to width/depth) is very high with an increased risk of over turning especially in very high winds (see leaning stacks in Norman Pearce photo below). Quite often stacks that appear a upright and stable are found to 'sway' with very little force applied to them. This can often be because the soft lime mortar used in their construction has been eroded inside the flue due to burning of coal from the hearths below.
Urgent and Immediate Repairs required The following repairs are required immediately:-
  1. Provide temporary lengths of plastic guttering where gutters are missing.
  2. Rear Wall - repair dilapidated and structurally unsound stonework to north east corner.
  3. Chimney Stack to rear. Urgently requires repointing. Cement render should be removed and brickwork repointed. Investigate stability.
  4. 2018-9 Building cleared out for major repairs[1], gable end and corner rebuilt, roof repairs in hand, hearth and chimney repair and reinstatement in progress[2][3].
Less urgent repairs A summary of the repairs required in the next 5 years (from 2014) are as follows:-
  1. Rainwater disposal - replace plastic gutters and down pipes with cast iron. Repair existing cast iron rainwater goods.
Improvements needed The following works go beyond 'repairs'.
  1. Reinstate chimney stacks to match evidence from old photographs. This will allow the open hearths to be reused if required).
  2. Rake out inappropriate cement pointing and repoint with lime mortar
  3. Re-install electrical power and lighting.
  4. Remove inappropriate concrete blockwork from blocked up doorways and insert recessed stonework or selected facing brickwork
  5. Limewash outside walls of the building following evidence that the building would have been limewashed. (This may be a contentious proposal but deserves discussion among the interested parties).
  6. Strip paint from all exterior woodwork and repaint with linseed oil paint.
Potential alternative uses The future use of this building is likely to be included within a larger scheme of conservation works to reinstate the buildings of the Top Yard. This could have a number of appropriate alternative uses.
  1. ^ "The Chairman's Bit", Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 133, page(s): 4
  2. ^ "The Chairman's Bit", Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 134, page(s): 4
  3. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 246, page(s): 436