The Alfred and Norman Bucknell Gallery
When Gimson started designing metalwork in about 1900 he saw some hinges that Alfred Bucknell, son of William the village blacksmith at Tunley, had made for Alfred Powell. (Architect and painter of Wedgwood pottery.
Gimson and Alfred set up a forge in Sapperton in the wheelwright's yard, on the site of the present village hall. (Designed by Ernest Barnsley). A succession of local apprentices was taken on including Fred Messanger, Fritz Whiting and Harry Gardiner.
Ironwork including firedogs, sconces and candlesticks were exhibited at Debenham and Freebody’s in 1907.
Gimson wrote to Philip Webb describing the work: 'The fire-dogs were made by the young village smith and were pierced and chased on his anvil. My smiths all think such things rather trivial & are much happier with their forges & hammers – as who wouldn’t be!’.
By 1910 there were several blacksmiths and they were producing not only handles and fittings for furniture, but exquisitely designed candlesticks, sconces and lanterns, with the finest punched and chased details.
When Gimson died in 1919, Alfred Bucknell set up independently as a wheelwright and smith in Waterlane and continued creating masterful metalwork in the same tradition.
Some of Alfred's finest work can be seen at Rodmarton Manor and also in the Dove in copper and silver plate for the font at Christchurch, Chalford.
In 1930 his son Norman joined him, having previously been apprenticed to Peter Waals (formerly Gimson's head cabinet maker) and continued the tradition, making cabinet fittings for Waals.
He also made sconces and architectural fittings for Norman Jewson (architect & former pupil of Gimson) as well as continuing to make designs by Gimson.
Around 1957, after his fathers death Norman moved to Lypiatt, and then on to Bisley where he retired in 1994. He died at the age of 95 in March 2006.
In Oakridge Lynch today the tradition of high qualty Craft Blacksmithing continues with William Pankhurst and his Forge at Woodbine Cottage (Tel 01285 760236).