Published on Dec 5, 2012
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Episode 3 of 6
Duration: 1 hour
Monty Don celebrates six of the traditional crafts that built our nation and its heritage, ranging from thatching to stonemasonry. Under Monty's watchful eye three hopefuls who are passionate about learning crafts are put through their paces by the country's leading practitioners
The humble village smithy was, for centuries, the most important place in the village and it was the craft of the blacksmith, more than any other, that during the industrial revolution transformed Britain into the great workshop of the world.
Market trader Dominic Branch, 37, museum educator Gill Fewings, 47, and architectural illustrator Hugh Gallagher, 40, take up their places as enthusiastic beginners in a three-hundred-year-old forge in Humberside to learn this ancient craft.
It takes four to five years to train properly as a blacksmith. During their six-week course, our trainees learn the foundations of the craft - from how to forge precision decorative panels to making their own tools.
They are be instructed by Don Barker, the first working blacksmith in 200 years to be appointed to the court of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. He has made ironwork for the royal family, Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral.
While Monty explores the importance of blacksmithing in history and joins in an experiment to test the same method the Romans would have used to smelt iron ore, the trainees learn how to make everything from nails to scrolls and snubs; finally putting all they have learnt into practice to design and forge decorative front gates, unassisted, for local Ferriby residents.