March 2018:

STOP PRESS  - 6th March: We had to postpone our first course - Peat Oberon's on 2 - 4 March - because of the appalling freezing, windy, snowy weather forecast - which turned out to be all too accurate. This is the first time we've had to do this in 22 years! Fortunately six of the eight students booked were able to transfer to our hastily-arranged deferred course on 13 - 15 April, and the other two have rebooked on later scheduled 'O' courses.

This leaves 2 places newly available on the 13 - 15 April course, which will be led by the highly experienced Eamonn Kenward, standing-in seamlessly for Peat Oberon, who he has assisted on these courses for 20 years; he will be assisted by Matthew Galpin, another master smith, teacher, and experienced long-term team member.

The scheduled courses later are rapidly approaching sell-out -  phone or e-mail me now to make sure of a place!   01372 374791 

We're delighted that our first three courses were fully booked by the end of January; the next available places are now those on Ambrose Burne's course on June 2 - 3 (just one place left), and Peat Oberon's on July 6 - 8 (but see the notice above about 3 early places newly available on April 13 -15!)       

Bookings are going briskly, so please don't delay booking - if you're unsure of your own, or a gift recipient's, commitments, do book anyway to avoid disappointment - a booking can always be moved to a later date, as long as you give us reasonable notice, and of course subject to availablity of later places.


Blacksmithing as an educational experience:

12 February: I spotted this in ‘The Times’ editorial on Saturday, 10 February 2018:

“… Executives at Google, Ebay, Yahoo and Apple have sent their children to a school that does not let phones and tablets into the classroom. Schools in this country may want to follow its example.

The Waldorf School of the Peninsula, a $25,000-a-year elementary in Los Altos, California, educates children the old-fashioned way. The children discover the secrets of Shakespeare not by watching a film adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but by acting-out plays themselves. They might learn about heat energy not by listening to the whirring of a computer fan, but by blacksmithing with a forge…”

The full article on page 35 elaborates on this (emphasising the “...blacksmithing with the 1500-degree forge”!) and prefaces this by saying that the children at this school  “…are learning to explore the world through physical experiences and tasks that are designed to nurture their imagination, problem-solving ability and collaborative skills.”

I have always recognised the immense value of this kind of education, which, growing up with my parents’ blacksmiths’  forge workshop and mixed farm right beside the house, and a large wild woodland and river just beyond both of them, I had the great privilege of enjoying for myself – some of it even at school!

The Quinnell School of Blacksmithing has always welcomed young people curious about the blacksmithing experience –  the forging of hot iron – on its intensive courses; doubly important as an educational experience, as our civilization is even now still in the iron-forging age – think of bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, cruise-ships, Tesla cars, trains, your tool-kit, the kitchen sink – all still totally dependent on iron and steel and their hot-working.  The computer I’m typing this on is housed in a protective shell of hot-rolled steel sheet. Our children need to understand this at a deep level.

We get a steady stream of young people on our courses; one young man of fifteen is just about to do his third in twelve months – he tells me he’s finding out a lot more – not least about himself – each time.

Dick Quinnell


Laurels for our Tutors in 2017:

In September 2017 at the International World Blacksmithing Championships in Stia, Italy, our tutor Ambrose Burne was part of the victorious Gold Medal winning 'Team UK 1' in the team category, beating hundreds of other blacksmiths from around the world. Other members of the team were Matthew Garton - another of our recent tutors -  with Sam Pearce and Victoria Gaskile.
Matt Garton was also runner-up Silver medallist in the individual World Championship category, again in a field of several hundred.

Our senior tutor Peat Oberon, past winner at Stia, and twice in recent years a member of the distinguished international Jury, was runner up in the Design Drawing category.

These are fantastic results for British Blacksmithing - and for the Quinnell School of Blacksmithing. We're very proud. Congratulations to all of them!