The Forge, or old Blacksmith's Shop in Manthorpe is an old stone and brick building with clay Norfolk pantile roof and dates roughly from the 18th century.
As we understand it, it's original use was as an open fronted stone building used by a travelling farrier or blacksmith. For years it has been owned by the local parish council but in 1985 we were able to buy it from the council for the princely sum of £2000.
For the first few years we used it for storage as had the previous tenant. In fact our neighbour, Fabe Foreman, had been using it as storage too and in fact continued to do so! - for such items as his Millie's (his wife's) bicycle! At the time I had an Austin A40 and parked it there every night. We're more affluent now with a bigger garage and much more posh and expensive cars but in fact since around 1985 none of our vehicles have been garaged! Ironically the A40 died many years ago and had to be towed away to the great scrapyard in the sky. The brakes seized solid and the skid marks it left behind started in the forge and continued half way up the village street!
After that Ian replaced the decaying double doors with a single stable door and put a window in the other half.
We soon had to re-roof it and replace the doors and put in a new floor. Then once we'd built the workshop we opened up a doorway through.
It's now used on a regular basis for casting in our sign making process so technically is a foundry rather than blacksmiths shop or forge though we're still continually asked if we can mend tools, shoe horses etc!