The last Harpenden High Street blacksmith
My father Richard Godfrey Pidgeon (Dickie) was born in Exmouth, Devon in 1887 to Robert and Elizabeth Pidgeon. He was apprenticed to a blacksmith and was to remain in that trade the rest of his working life. He moved to Harpenden to work at Lines forge in the High Street around 1912. He signed up at the start of WWl and served in the Royal Army Veterinary Corp from 1914 until 1920, marrying Mary Smith in 1915 in Redbourn. After the war he returned to Lines, ran the forge and was blacksmith there until 1957 when it closed and he was 70. He died in 1968. Lines finished up belonging to Reads who had owned the garage opposite.
On the 1939 register Richard and Mary were living in Fish Street, Redbourn with Mary’s father, George Smith and their sons Robert (born 1916) and John (1926). They had two other children Frances (1922) and myself Betty (1933). I was with relatives in Cambridge at the time, presumably because of the impending war.
Some of his interesting work
Richard made the gates for Childwickbury Manor; shod horses belonging to Cats Eyes Cunningham and the donkey at the National Children’s Home who was quite a character!
On Richard’s retirement; The London Evening Standard published a piece about him.
More photos and information about the Redbourn Pidgeon family