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Blacksmith's Workshop

Various, 2004

A blacksmiths workshop creating forged panels for the castellations on the wall of Kielder Viaduct

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BABA’s ‘Big Weekend’ at Kielder was a collaborative event with the British Artist Blacksmiths Association (BABA) and the Kielder Community Trust to develop 8 sculptures to be placed between the parapets along the Kielder railway viaduct in April 2004.


Friends and families of BABA were invited along for a weekend by Bill Cordaroy, leader and coordinator of the event to work with 7 Master blacksmiths who were provided with a brief as part of an ongoing local community regeneration project. Initial designs for the panels were generated by local primary school children and community groups who were then invited along to see their designs forged into the sculptures that are in place today.

Image courtesy of Nigel Jenkins, member of the Northumberland & Newcastle Society that owns and cares for the historic viaduct

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The historic viaduct is one of the best preserved examples of a 'skew-arch' bridge in this country. Sitting above the point where the North Tyne enters Bakethin Reservoir, it was engineered in 1862 as a joint project of the Border Counties Railway and the North British Railway as part of the former's extension to Riccarton Junction. After two years of discussions the Duke of Northumberland approved the construction of the viaduct which featured battlemented parapets said to compliment the style of Kielder castle. The final eight designs from the BABA event now feature between the parapets.

BABA’s ‘Big Weekend’ at Kielder was organised to allow master blacksmiths to collaborate with other members of The British Artist Blacksmiths Association and members of the community. The original designs were developed by local schools and community groups and then forwarded to the master blacksmiths who used them as the basisfor the BABA project

Images courtesy of Stephen Lunn

Over the weekend, 82 BABA members, friends and families, were provided with hospitality, accommodation and catering thanks to funding from various organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund's Local Heritage Initiative.

Image courtesy of James Spedding

The Forge in took place in the Kielder Castle carpark, where a convoy of cars and trucks delivered an extensive collection of equipment for the blacksmiths to set up camp.

Image courtesy of James Spedding

The weekend event brought in a record number of visitors who stopped to observe a spectacularly physical event rarely seen in the modern day.

Image courtesy of James Spedding

This onetime event showcased the strength of collaborations between professionals and locals to develop eight beautifully crafted decorative panels that can still be seen in their parapets overlooking the Northumberland countryside.

Image courtesy of James Spedding


Bill Cordaroy

A master blacksmith from Norfolk, leader and coordinator of the BABA Big weekend event

Bill Cordaroy | BABA



Brian Russel


Brian Russel | Little Newsham Forge 


Adam Booth


Adam Booth | Pipers Forge


Chris Topp


Chris Topp | Topp and Co


Peat Oberon


Peat Oberon | School of Blacksmithing


Pete Hill


Pete Hill | Ratho Byres Forge


Phil Johnson


Phil Johnson | Ratho Byres Forge


Stephen Lunn


Stephen Lunn | Anvilman


Images courtasy of Bill Cordaroy