Desmond family restores heritage site in Morpeth

Desmond Blackmith In Morpeth under restoration. Photo: chatham-kent.ca

A few months ago, when you walked into the Desmond blacksmith shop on the old Talbot Trail east of Morpeth, it was like walking back in time. The old brick forge was still in place as was the bellows that still pumped air. An anvil, a wall mounted drill, vices, and tools remained in place and gave one the feeling that the blacksmith just stepped out for lunch. Despite this first impression, time had taken its toll on the structure - the sills were rotten, the foundation stones were falling out, the forge was deteriorating, and the siding was weathered and splitting.

Happily, the owner, Doug Desmond, whose family has resided on this farm since the early 1800s, is having this important building restored. Restoration contractor Darrell Shadd and local masonry restoration expert Brian Bartlett have now lifted the building, replaced rotted beams, rectified drainage issues, restored the stone foundation, and, perhaps most impressively, restored the original brick forge.

“This is an extremely important and unique building. To find a blacksmith shop in this state of originality, with the original forge and bellows, and on its original site is extremely significant and its restoration is a tremendous benefit for the community,” comments Dave Benson, Municipal Heritage Coordinator.

The restoration is continuing with the replacement of exterior siding, windows, and doors.

 

A blacksmith's forge, under restoration in Morpeth. Photo: chatham-kent.ca