Churchill Forge Today

Churchill Forge lies in the valley of the Ganlow Brook which rises in the Clent Hills in North Worcestershire, and flows down to meet the River Stour, which itself is a tributary of the Severn. Churchill Forge is the last many water powered forges that could once be found in this area. It has, for many years, been in the hands of the Bache family, a family that has had many connections with the forge over the years.



        
The two waterwheels at Churchill Forge

 

The power for the forge is provided by two water wheels. The water to turn these wheels is stored in "Hammer Pond" a pool, some two acres in extent, which was formed, probably as early as the 13th or 14th century, by damming the Ganlow Brook, the embankment thus formed now being the approach road to the forge. A sluice gate allows water from the pond to enter a culvert under the footpath and into two header tanks from which it can be released when the wheels are required to turn.

The main wheel, which drives the machinery in the forge, has a diameter of 17 feet and is 5 feet 3 inches wide. This has been carefully restored to its original condition. The spokes are of oak with steel buckets and it is mounted on a hollow cast iron axle, 18 feet in length. The axle carries two of the original flywheels which have projections which operated the tilt hammers which (unfortunately) no longer exist. The axle now has a spur wheel which meshes with a smaller one on a counter-shaft which in turn powers, via a flat belt, overhead shafting for the various hammers, presses and other machines. Outside on the axle of the wheel can be seen a crank, which, when connected by a long rod to a crocodile shear, is still capable of cutting mild steel 4 inches by 1 inch, cold!

       
Cutting iron on the crocodile shear and the hammer and anvil inside the workshop