The last Harpenden High Street blacksmith

Richard and Mary Pidgeon and son Bob
Betty Bentley
Richard and Mary Pigeon 1915
Geoff Webb, Herts Memories website
Dickie with his daughter Betty at her wedding 1952
Betty Bentley
Eric Bentley & Betty Pidgeon's wedding group 1952. L-R Hedley Bentley, Edith Bentley, Rowland Rolph (nephew - Winifred's son), Eric, Betty, Jennifer Dunckley (niece - Alice's daughter), Mary Pidgeon and Dickie Pidgeon
Betty Bentley
Dickie Pidgeon shoeing a horse (from the Herts Advertiser)
Betty Bentley

Richard Pidgeon

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

can be found  on the Herts Memories website                                                 

Highlight and click on link and click on ‘go to’


Comments about this page

  • Great memories as a young boy watching the village blacksmith … sparks flying high as he forged and hammered the shoes into shape.
    That particular smell as he put the hot shoes onto the horse’s feet.

    Priceless times in this wonderful community.

    My parents had The Silver Cup from circa 1933 to 1961.

    ED: can you please share more information about your parents’ time at The Silver Cup?/

    By David (08/08/2022)

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