The original Forge building you see today began life in the mid-19th century – (the exact date is unknown but no building is shown on the Tithe Map of 1837 and a small building is shown on the Ordnance Survey of 1879).
Initially, the building consisted of just the right-hand half of the building and may have been a wheelwright’s workshop (a blacksmith’s workshop and farriers stood in Dyers Lane at that stage).
The building was extended some time before the next Ordnance survey in 1896 – you can still ‘see the join’ in the brickwork today – and it is believed it became the village blacksmithy at that date.
The Forge was a thriving place at the heart of the village – but was sadly closed as a blacksmith’s workshop several years ago.
A group of villagers – headed by Mike Imms – developed a plan to take over the building, enhance, and add to it, and open it as a community shop, with a café adding much needed visitor attraction. Sllindon is a small village – too small to sustain a grocery shop; by adding a café, the idea was to provide an extra draw for villagers and, of course, for all the visitors to the village who come to enjoy the annual lambing at Gaston Farm, pumpkin display on Top Road and the many events organised by the National Trust, which is very active in the village.
To the original blacksmith’s building an annexe was built to house the café and kitchen, office and cloakroom.
Since The Forge opened in October 2012, the original Management Committee has changed, and members replaced by other volunteers. A manager has been in place since June 2015, with a team of staff, ably and generously aided by a team of volunteers.
There is always room for more volunteers to help!