For a small building, Horseshoe Forge in Ford Village can take quite some time to explore. Its unusual horseshoe-shaped entrance makes it one of the most photographed buildings on Ford & Etal Estates, and once inside it’s a cornucopia of all things vintage and collectable – including a huge selection of rare and antiquarian books, with expert John Marrin on hand to offer advice and valuations.
Ford village, picturesque and secluded, is still recognisable as the place it was a hundred years or more ago. After centuries of border warfare, the union of England and Scotland led to a more peaceful time, and by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the area was a quiet, rural backwater. But it was also an era of change – industry was growing, travel and communications becoming easier, the population was expanding, and agricultural estates like Ford were vital for food production.
The artists’ cabinet at Lady Waterford Hall sees a change this week, with work by local crafter Judith Bellamy replacing the beautiful felt work and photography which has been on display since early May.
This small gallery features original arts and crafts by local artists Peter and Julie Blood, as well as by their friends. It is situated beside the River Till in Etal in a building that once supplied hydro-electric power to the estate. Julie specialises in wildlife art and animal portraiture and Peter produces colourful abstracts and mixed media pieces. However neither artist would wish to be pigeon-holed, valuing the freedom ot be creative in whichever way they like, hence the gallery strapline: whatever next?
Both Peter and Julie have a background in graphic design and also work in their long-established fmaily business The Osprey Company, which relocated to Etal in 2019.