The Stratford Smithy
The Smithy was housed in the building to the right of Old Forge Cottage. It appears on this extract of the 1900 OS map
First mention of a Blacksmith by name in Stratford appears in the 1861 census records which, also for the first time, gave peoples occupations. James Titt Senior (79) was listed as Master Blacksmith with his son James Titt (35) as a Blacksmith/Journeyman. In the 1881 census James Titt (56) and his 17 year old son Charles are entered as Blacksmiths in Stratford. In the 1880 Kellys Directory for Salisbury District James is also down as having the Post Office which, by 1890, was being run by his wife Augusta but by 1891 it had been relocated to the site of Little Farthings Cottage at the bottom of The Portway.
By 1897 Charles had now taken over the running of the Smithy and continued to do so until the late 1920’s when a Fred Bird took over its operation. During the 1920’s the old Smithy building was replaced by the one we see today. Fred Bird continued a business at the Smithy into the 1930’s however by the Second World War no blacksmith is listed as operating in Stratford. The gradual decline in the number of Blacksmiths in the Salisbury area after the First World War can be clearly seen through the Kellys Trade Directories. In 1931 there were 59 listed, this had declined to 28 by 1944 and fallen to 15 by 1953. By 1959 there were apparently no Blacksmiths operating in and around the Salisbury area.
In 1941 a Harry Hillier was listed as living at the Smithy, (which may have also been the Old Forge Cottage), as a private resident and continued to do so until the early 1950’s.
The article above was first published in the Friends of St Lawrence Church Autumn 2011 Newsletter and appears on this website by kind permission of David James.
Other webpages about Stratford's historic buildings:
Historic Houses of Stratford: a pictorial journey around the village