On the south side of the main building is an historic blacksmith shop, relocated to this site in 2002 and restored in 2011. It replaces the original Campbell Carriage Factory blacksmith shop which was burned down in the 1970s.
David Fensom’s early 1970s sketch of the Campbell Carriage Factory shows the old Campbell blacksmith shop neatly nestled into the factory complex — an integral component of the manufacturing site for nearly 100 years. Ronald Campbell built the original blacksmith shop soon after taking over the factory building in the 1850s. The blacksmith shop’s two forges produced all the custom-built metal components needed in the manufacture of sleighs, wagons and carriages.
The old factory closed for good in 1949 and the defunct blacksmith shop fell into disrepair. By the mid-1970s it was a liability to its owners who had the local fire department burn it down. When the Tantramar Heritage Trust took over the property in 1998 and commenced restoration work it was felt that an important component was missing.
An opportunity to remedy this came in 2002 when a near neighbour Allison Ayer offered to donate to the Trust the old Job Anderson blacksmith shop which stood on his property about 1 km up the road from the carriage factory. The Anderson Blacksmith Shop is the smaller building to the right of the old school in this 1920 photo. It is about the same size as the original Campbell shop and about the same age, or possibly older.
The offer was accepted and the building was moved in the fall of 2002 to the Campbell Carriage Factory compound and located in approximately the same position as the original blacksmith shop. Restoration began in April 2011 when the building was jacked up and set on new foundations. Much of the original building was preserved though a new floor had to be laid.
The biggest challenge was the design and construction of a working forge, a project carried out under the direction of Paul Bogaard in the summer of 2011. Much research determined that the two forges in the original Campbell Carriage Factory blacksmith shop would have been of “side-draft” design. A forge of this type was painstakingly reconstructed, as well as a special brick chamber and chimney with flue liners.
A supply of special “smithing coal” was obtained to ensure that the forge reached the high temperatures necessary to forge iron. The first fire was lit in the new forge on 12 August 2011 (just in time for the official opening on 14 August !). Here Dan Lund looks on at the successful trial. It was the generosity of Dan Lund, along with his brother Ken, that made this project possible.
Here blacksmith Paul Fontaine demonstrates the use of the forge. Such demonstrations are held from time to time for the benefit of visitors to the Campbell Carriage Factory. Note the selection of tools and equipment around the forge. Many of these came from the old Hum Amos blacksmith shop on Lorne Street in Sackville which was demolished in 2004.
- Al Smith, “Our Blacksmith Shop,” The White Fence 52, October, 2011.
- Paul Bogaard, “Resurrecting the Campbell Carriage Factory Blacksmith Shop,” The White Fence 54, February, 2012.
- Paul Bogaard, “Reconstructing a Working Forge,” The White Fence 55, February, 2012.