The Great Yorkshire Show 2017
The sound of ringing anvils and the sulphurous smell of burning coke drifting across the Great Yorkshire Showground, announced the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths Wrought Ironwork stand open for business. The rain may have begun to fall, but it would take more than a wet Yorkshire summers day to dampen the spirits of the assembled Smiths.
The team of volunteers at the Great Yorkshire Show, from Master Blacksmiths to students and hobbyists, keeps growing year on year. As part of the attractions for the Show, we aim to promote the blacksmithing trade and public awareness in this ancient craft, as well as encouraging young smiths to get involved and be able to work shoulder to shoulder with time served Smiths; learning techniques and taking away valuable pieces of sage advice.
Bruce and Brenda Wilcock joined the team, with Bruce kindly acting as the guest judge for the static and live forging competitions, as well as entertaining the team with plenty of tales.
The static competition entries showcased a good variety of pieces and styles, with Andy Basnett, Stephen Lunn and Doug Campbell taking the Professional Blacksmiths top show prizes. The Amateur/Student category had strong competition this year; two students, Oscar Duck aged 15 and Jacob Edmondson, 17, came to the show as part of their school work experience. Oscar, took first place with a broad body of work that demonstrated his enthusiasm to learn new techniques; Jacob, 17, taking second place with his first ever pieces of work forged on placement the week before. Emma Yates, having completed her final year at Hereford, received a third place. Emma will qualify for competing in the Professional category in future years.
With demonstrations, lessons and competitions over the three days, the forges were in constant demand; enthusiastic queues forming as the live competition deadline loomed. Canny competitors cunningly watched for categories with low entries in a bid for prize winnings.
Andy Basnett and Stephen Lunn again took the top prizes in the 30 minute and 2 hour professional live forging competitions. Oscar Duck cleaned up on the amateur live forging prizes. A repousse category first prize was taken by Emma Yates for a copper Yorkshire Rose that she produced across the three days. Quentin Thompson, spotting a shortage of entries for the repousse category in the final minutes, deftly produced a Union flag from a pair of scissors, a stick and a coke can, winning second place and a cash prize.
The live forging competition was made all the more enticing by the promise of cash awards, made possible through the constant and successful efforts of Hugh Adams to separate generous sponsors with their hard earned cash.
The whole team, involved with the Great Yorkshire Show, volunteer with such enthusiasm and commitment that it makes it a pleasure to spend the week with blacksmith friends old and new, talking to visitors, and enjoying what we love to do the most; moving metal.