Born in Isleworth, Middlesex in 1949, he left school at the age of fourteen and a half, and entered into a blacksmithing apprenticeship. On completion he registered with the Worshipful Company Of Blacksmiths (the governing body for blacksmiths) at the age of 21 and travelled extensively worldwide as a freelance blacksmith.
He returned to England in 1991 at the request of the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Society to revive ‘The Much Hadham Forge’. This was a restoration project in a 14th century bellows operated forge. The project ran for 3 years and is still operating as a successful business.
From there he started ‘Hackney Forge’ at Victoria Park Road, Hackney. In 1997 he returned to Auckland (New Zealand) for a design and build bridge project which lasted for 2 years. He returned to England in 1999 and started ‘Design Design’ in Sunbury on Thames, a blacksmiths consultancy and design business.
Due to the drift of light industry away from the east end of London generally, he finds himself in the position of being one of only four qualified blacksmiths in the London area and the only one in Hackney (there were 109 in 1945).
You can visit Neil’s website here.
Visit Neil’s forge every Saturday for his open studio, 10am-12pm and have a go.