Saturday, 7 August 2010

Workshop In Walworth

I love workshops.

A visit to this one (stay with me) turned around a not-so-interesting day that had - before going there - been dominated by a necessary administrative task that involved lots of waiting.

Benbow Metalwork is tucked away on a side street in Walworth, very close to East Street Market. The pathway from the street is strewn with broken wooden fencing, lengths of steel and general junk. The workshop itself contains current jobs, bits and pieces of metal, old machinery and relics of the former forge which stood on this site - including the furnace, two anvils and a circular, buried-in-the-ground 'cooling' pool.

There's no flooring as such, just a ruddy coloured mud dust which has coated every surface and every thing. (Much more intense in hue than the flash photographs show.)

These tools on the back wall fascinated me. They are redundant now but some of them would have been used in the making and repairing of 'barrow' wheels for the stalls at the nearby market. The circular instruments on the left are called 'travellers' and were used for measuring the circumference of the barrow wheels.

I think it would be great to be in possession of some practical skills of the kind to justify one's own workshop and furnish it with a solid, high work bench with a vice attached and a chest of tools. For now though I will satisfy my interest by nosing around the workshops of others. 

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