The smithy at Willaston also known as the forge was the workplace of the smith or a blacksmith. The metalsmith, often shortened to smith, was the person involved in making metal objects for the village such as horse shoes, tools and jewellery. The old smithy stood almost opposite the old hall as shown above in the photograph and probably served the owner for many decades.
This ancient traditional smithy was a furnace designed to allow compressed air (through a bellows) to superheat the inside, allowing for efficient melting, soldering and annealing of metals. The forge heats the workpiece to a malleable temperature (a temperature where the metal becomes easier to shape) or to the point where work hardening no longer occurs. The workpiece is transported to and from the forge using tongs. The tongs are also used to hold the workpiece on the smithy's anvil while the smith works it with a hammer. Finally the workpiece was transported to the slack tub, which rapidly cools the workpiece in a large body of water. The slack tub also provides water to control the fire in the forge.
The smithy was in use until the early 20th century when, like many others around the country; it became surplus to requirement. The site today is covered by modern housing, the only reminder is the old road name which still bears the words 'Smithy Lane'.