Back in black: Sunderland blacksmith reopens 300-year-old smithy in Hetton

HARD GRAFT: John Guy at work.
HARD GRAFT: John Guy at work.
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A BLACKSMITH’S shop is fired up for business again after the 18th century building underwent a complete restoration.

The Hetton Smithy, in North Road, has been restored thanks to the Limestone Landscapes Partnership and about £100,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

NEW LOOK: The Smithy now.

NEW LOOK: The Smithy now.

Durham County Council, which hosts the partnership, appointed Beaumont Brown Architects and Classic Masonry to bring the one-roomed building back to its former glory.

Owner John Guy, from Fulwell, Sunderland, has been a blacksmith all his life and the restoration will allow demonstrations and masterclasses of his skills to take place at the workshop, which is one of the oldest buildings in Hetton.

David Beaumont, conservation architect for the project, said: “The Smithy is a fantastic historical building and we are delighted that the conservation and restoration has given this important heritage building a new lease of life – and a dry place for John to work.”

Ken Bradshaw, the partnership’s heritage officer, said: “We have very few buildings surviving from the time before Hetton became a mining community.

“So it is good to know that one which would once have been at the heart of the old agricultural village, has now been restored.”

Representatives from the Limestone Landscapes Project, Durham, Sunderland and Hetton Town Council, attended the opening ceremony after the completion of the work, which began in March.

Other projects led by the partnership have included work on the Seaham lifeboat building in the town’s North Dock marina development, so it can be used as a visitor centre and work on Hawthorn Hive lime kilns.