Rowan Taylor, Blacksmith
South Saxon Forge
didn't want knifemakers. However, After viewing all of the equipment and tooling which I had made for myself, my interviewer told me that he couldn't wait to start working with me!
I completed my first year with nine out of nine possible distinctions and the prize for most improved blacksmith through a solid work ethic and determination.
The following year, I achieved twelve out of twelve possible distinctions and came-away with a student award off the Federation of Small Businesses for starting and running a business while still studying. I also won Best Student Award from the college and Best Blacksmith award from the National School of Blacksmithing. As the icing on the cake, I also beat all the other years and courses and took away the Stanley Allcard Cup, given by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, based in the City of London a prize traditionally taken-away by the Artist Blacksmiths!
Following these successes, I applied for one of only eight places on the prestigious NHIG bursary scheme and gained a place after interview and a practical exam. For twelve months, I worked on restoration and conservation projects with blacksmiths, conservators and engineers up and down the country, learning good conservation practice with regards to ironwork. This included restoration and conservation work at Hampton Court Palace, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and in the world-heritage city of Bath.
I started blacksmithing as a hobby and taught myself to an advanced level over a period of three years. By this time I knew that smithing was in my blood and that I wanted to make a career out of it. I applied to the National School of Blacksmithing in Hereford, run by Hereford College of Technology where I was eventually offered a place directly onto the second year of the technical blacksmithing course. I came very close to being rejected because the school